A team can be defined as a group of individuals who have come together with a common interest, the interest being, to perform a complex task which most often has other subtasks. Members in a team are not just a group, but people with complementary skills as relating to the task at hand. Team members work together to develop synergy through a well coordinated system which allows every member to maximize his/her strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.
Identifying project team members:
Organizations thrive by execution of the proposed projects. Coming up with the right personnel mix to execute a project proposal is one of the most important steps in to the success of any business organization. This starts by identifying the needs of the project, its goals and objectives. This is important because every project is different from the other.
Once a manager identifies the needs of the project at hand, he should go ahead and appoint the most capable team leader to head the team. How well a team leader understands the objective of a project will determine how well those objectives are achieved at the end.
Once the group leader is appointed, the manager should now consider those individuals who are best qualified to do the project work. This should be done purely on merit. A team member should be one who has the right skills for the project, who is goal oriented, committed and who has shown a good history of achievement.
Incase the appointed team is not able to meet the project requirements in terms of capacity, the manager should consider bringing other individuals on board in order to fill in the gaps. From time to time the manager should monitor the progress of the team in terms of performance. This will help him to provide the required resources and manpower.
Team building strategies:
In order for a team to achieve meaningful results in a project, it is important that good team building strategies be applied in enhancing the effectiveness of the team. It is of prime importance that a team should have a competent leader. This should be one who is able to decide which subtask the group should tackle first. The success of the first activity not only determines the confidence of the management in the group, but also how motivated the team members will be in the subsequent ones. Everyone wants to be part of a successful endeavor.
The first project that a team undertakes must also be carefully selected, it must be perceived by the team members as of first importance to the organization. Normally, people will be more motivated when they feel that whatever work they are doing is perceived as one that will bring significant difference in the organization.
An environment must be created whereby each team member feels that their contribution is important for the success of the project. This can be done through establishment of such a relationship between each member’s participation and the success of the project. When members feel that someone else will make up for their failure to contribute, problems will arise. (Allan, 2009) such problems are caused by underutilization of manpower in the team. This is likely to occur if one member either feels that their contribution is not important or that they are less important in the group.
It is important that the great likelihood of success remains hidden from the team. On the contrary, it should be made to believe that it is working on a difficult task. People give their best when they feel that they are working on difficult tasks. Such an attitude is important because in the initial stages of its operation a team is open to a lot of skeptics; however its first success sets the ground for future success.
After the first project a team should be able to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses in order to improve in its future projects. The first project should therefore act as its foundation.
Potential areas of conflict within a diverse project team:
Conflicts are almost unavoidable in a diverse team due to the differences in value and belief system, culture and social background and abilities. However, it is important that we should look at some of the areas which hold great potential in bringing about negative conflicts for reason of prevention of unnecessary conflicts.
Most sensitive source of team conflicts is communication. Poor listening skills, failure to share information within a team, not paying enough attention to members’ contribution and incorrect interpretation of information constitute the major part of this source. If not checked they result in misunderstandings and ineffectiveness in the teams.
Within an organization we may have such structural factors as the remuneration system. If team members feel that they are being paid too little for doing so much, problems arise. Personal factors as self worth and self esteem can also be potential sources of conflict. The above differences if not well checked can make the team dysfunctional.
Reducing the probability of dysfunctional conflict:
Dysfunctional conflicts are those that negatively interfere with an individual’s performance and also disrupt job performance. Such conflicts need to be reduced since total avoidance is practically impossible. It is important that each team member gets a chance to identify to the group his areas of strength and also areas of weakness. That way the group is able to know where he/she comes in handy and where he is of no use at all. This should be done in the early stages of team formation.
Team members may not be available for meetings at the same time due to the difference in their schedules. At the same time, it is impossible to carry out team work without meeting. This makes it very important for team members to agree on the time, criteria and venue of meeting in the initial stages of group formation.
To avoid unequal participation in the team, members need to agree on participation, prior to any serious meeting. It is also important that conflicts within a group should be resolved in the most effective method, one that resolves it but leaves the team intact.
The least confrontational method of conflict resolution is collaboration. This involves including the thoughts of every group member. The best of the ideas are used to form the solution.
The other method could be compromising, this is where each individual losses part of his work for the gain of all. At the end of it, everyone’s pride is hurt but for the team’s greater gain.
When conflicts prove hard to solve and keep the group, one may embark on reshuffling the group, where some group members are swooped with others in different groups.
The least result effective technique is accommodation. When using this method, the conflict is ignored, however, it only results more problems in the future.
Since project management is all about planning, organizing and managing the available resources; effective selection of project team members, team building strategies and conflict resolution techniques are the main factors of effective project management. These determine the success or failure of any project. Thus, any organization that masters these factors effectively has great potential for success in its future endeavors.