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Project Team Building
The Project Core Team is the cross-functional team responsible for planning and executing the project activities. Project team building is a process that the Project Core Team normally goes through to improve team coordination and decision making.
When to use
Project team building is most important for large projects with a cross-functional set of project activities. Team building should be done once the project core team is formed and may need to be repeated if the core team membership changes. Very small projects may only have one or two people who are involved in conducting project activities. In that case, team building is often irrelevant.
A Project Core Team is assigned to plan and manage the project. This team will often have conflict due to different functional and personal priorities and concerns. Team building helps this team resolve the conflict in a positive manner and keep the project on track to achieve its objectives. The Core Team members must represent the needs and standards of their function within the project activities, but they must also represent the needs of the project within their function. They also will typically act as the supervisors for all project activities performed in their function, whether they are doing the work themselves or others are doing it. This is a challenging leadership position requiring good communication skills, negotiating skills, and functional skills. For that reason, Core Teams often need to address team building issues.
- Forming – whenever a project Core Team is first organized, or a change is made to the membership, the members must be introduced and get acquainted with each other.
- Storming – this often occurs whenever the project plan is being developed or changed as the needs and capabilities of different departments must be balanced. The GRPI method is an excellent tool to use at this time.
- Norming – effective use of GRPI will lead to project “norms” which are the resolution to the areas of conflict.
- Performing – project Core Teams who have been together for several projects can reach this stage because they have established “norms” for the entire project lifecycle.
Hints & tips
- Core Team members should be good communicators and willing to negotiate. Stubborn individuals or hard line negotiators make poor Core Team members.
- Core Team members must be technically savvy within their department. They need to have the respect of their department and are able to identify issues and negotiate compromises for their department.
- Core Teams often have conflict. Expect it. But work to resolve it using GRPI – don’t ignore it.
- If the Core Team membership changes during the project, plan a short team building session to accelerate through the forming and storming stages and get to the norming stage with the new individual.
- All members of the Core Team should be held accountable for overall project success.
- Project Team: “A set of individuals who support the Project Manager in performing the work of the project to achieve its objectives.” PMBOK® Guide
This definition is taken from the Glossary of the Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2017.
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PMI, PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.