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Project Manager Considerations When Building a Project Team

Shirley Lee

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As a Project Manager, your team may already have already been assigned before you build a project plan. If this is so, it will allow better estimations of resource budget and the team can participate in designing the project schedule. Alternatively, the team may not be approved and build until the implementation phase begins, which means a preliminary plan has been developed. Remember that if the team can help with planning, then they are more likely to be committed to accomplishing the plan and the project goal or objective. In addition, it is less likely that omission of important details from the plan will occur if the team is involved in developing the plan. Where possible, before trying to develop a project plan, assemble a Project Team of people that have something to contribute to the overall project.

These project team members may have expertise in similar projects or be someone with a stake in the outcome of the project. More experienced people will help insure the project stays on schedule, however working on a project with a mentor or others more experienced can be a great learning experience for those new to this type of work, process, service, or product. Team members may be volunteers or given the assignment to participate on the project. Typically, volunteers make more of an effort and require less supervision than those assigned without asking if they would like to participate. As the Project Manager, you should talk with each perspective member to make sure they understand what their project responsibilities and accountability might be, what challenges they may look forward to, and what value they offer to the team. Additionally, you should note how much freedom each member would have in carrying out their tasks and making decisions related to their assignments.

If the project team members have worked together before, then the project may start well. Team members who have worked on team projects before will already be familiar with team problem solving and participatory decision-making and will see working on the team as a motivating factor in their and others’ contribution to the project. However, if some of the team members have not worked together or been part of a team before, you as the project manager need to consider if there is need for any team training or other team-building activities to help the members work better as a team. If the team has not worked together before, in their first team meeting, you and your team members will need to establish conduct guidelines for personal and group behavior. You may want to establish what types of information sharing may or may not go outside the project team as well. Working as a team and with your feedback, the project members should find they produce better project results in a more effective manner.

If any team members are only a part-time assignment to the project, then you need to determine with them how they will prioritize their work. As a rule of thumb, no one should be working on more than three projects at a time. As your project continues, be sure to give team members feedback on their individual performance. If they need to change the way they are doing something, be sure to explain why they need to make the change as well s what and how to change. Be sure to let team members know that their contribution is valuable to project and team success. If a team member is not willing to work toward the project goal, then they need to be convinced or removed from the project team. Reward both team behavior and individual accomplishments in order to insure team members work together and value each other's contributions.

NOTE: This article text contains excerpts from and adaptations of the Project Management Simplified workbook developed by Shirley Fine Lee as part of the Wizard of When training series, copyright 2003.

Shirley Fine Lee has considerable training and expertise in leading effective meetings and projects, as well as training others within the corporate world to be able to do the same. Her book, “R. A!R. A! A Meeting Wizard's Approach", is a much-needed guide to planning and conducting meetings so that they are as productive, effectual, and smoothly run as possible. Find out more about her, her books, and learning options she provides on her website.


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