You have been there. As a team leader, project manager and team member the work is just not getting done.
This problem occurs on any team (from sports to corporate), I find it is most common with cross-functional project teams. Teams that have people from different departments and different direct managers who are brought together to accomplish a project. Perhaps a quality initiative, a new product roll-out and sales process, finding and defining new revenue streams, etc…
This generally manifests in an Executive and Project-Manager stating things like “they just aren’t working together”, “we have some strong personalities and things are not getting done”, and “the same damn thing happens, why can’t they just work as a team?”…
What might be causing this lack of team results?
- The project manager / leader and members are unclear on the purpose of the project – the ‘Why are we here’ in the first place.
- The project manager / leader and members are unclear of their specific goals and what they are individually responsible for completing, in reference to the QQT/R of the Project Goal.
- The team’s purpose is lacking in either the ‘What’ quality and quantity of the goal or the ‘by-when’ time frame required and resources of the goal.
- The direct managers of the project team members (who are usually NOT the project manager/leader and are generally different for each member of the cross-functional team) don’t support the team members’ participation on the team.
- The project manager / team leader is lacking the authority to be effective with the team.
- Lack of skilled-knowledge and management capability in the the team leader.
- The team members lack the skilled-knowledge and / or technical skills needed to complete their tasks.
We might know the problem, but what is the solution?
With any organization and team, systems-drive-behavior. It is best to set things up right in the beginning. Allowing for a clearly defined goal (QQT/R) and the necessary authority and accountability of each team member and the project manager / team leader.
- The team leader meets with the project champion or whoever is accountable for the output of the team and specifies the team’s task in clear Quality, Quantity, Time Frame and Resources language.
- The team leader and the team member’s managers all sit together and reach clarity and definition on the team member’s accountabilities for project and non-project team tasks.
- Coaching and development for the project manager
- Access and provision of additional trainings in the needed technical and / or team skills for team members.
- Hire Mike
Everyone on the team WANTS to do great work.
Take the time upfront and supply the team leader with all the needed support and accountability and authority to be able to complete the project…otherwise you are going to pay later.
What do you think?
In what ways do you work to ameliorate team problems? How does a team succeed? What is your process for defining the work of the team, team members and project manager / leaders in the beginning of the project?
michael cardus is create-learning
image found at http://www.juxtapoz.com/Street-Art/dada
Referenced: ‘Team Building’. Brian Beiles; Handbook of Management Consulting Services. 1995