Thursday, June 12, 2008

Six Team Challenges for Project Management Teams

Six Team Challenges for Project Management Teams
by Jennifer Britton, Potentials Realized
Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.

By their very nature, project management teams are unique, and face unique opportunities and challenges. This article examines six unique team challenges facing project management teams, along with some questions project managers may want to consider with respect to their team.

Challenge #1: The Team’s finite timeline
Project Management exist for a finite period of time, with a fixed beginning and end period. This may be days, weeks, months or sometimes years. Teams outside of the project world, theoretically are forever.

What challenges does your team’s finite timeline pose? What do you notice about the team process and their needs as you move from kick-off to implementation and finish?

Challenge #2: Different roles and responsibilities of different Team Members

Project teams often involve a fluid mix of different team members coming in and out of the project.

How much time have you spent clarifying the different roles and responsibilities of the different team members in your project. Where is the overlap? What are the gaps?

Challenge #3: Different team members belong to a series of different project teams:

It is quite common for staff members to belong to multiple project teams at one time.

How strong is the association/membership to your team? What steps can you take to boost team members association to your team?

Challenge #4: Possible Virtual Nature of the Project Team:

A very common challenge within project teams is their virtual nature, where members of the team are either M-Workers, or actually located in different venues. Virtual teams can pose a wide range of challenges as they may operate across time zones, distance and cultures. To see what else I've said on virtual teams, click here.

If we have a virtual component to our team, who is on it? What obstacles exist due to our nature of the virtual team? What steps can we take to ensure that those needed are involved in our team process and communication?

Challenge #5: Unclear Vision for the team
Unfortunately, it can be common for the vision of a project to held tightly by a few members of a project management team, and not widely shared by all.

Who has contributed to the overall vision of the project? Who shares this vision? What steps can you take so that all team members share the vision?

Spend time with the team creating a common vision of the end result

Challenge #6: Unclear on the strengths of the team

Given the often transient nature of project teams, it is quite common for the time together to be spent on action (which can often be unfocussed) rather than preparation and planning. Remember, every 10 minutes of planning can save 60 minutes of unfocused effort.

What strengths does each team member bring to your team? What are the strengths of your team system as a whole?

Look for an assessment such as the Team Diagnostic Assessment to measure the strengths of your team system, or StrengthsFinder 2.0 to look at the strengths of individual team members.

Jennifer J. Britton is the founder of Potentials Realized. Jennifer works with teams, organizations and business owners to achieve the success and impact they desire in teamwork, business, and performance issues, through the provision of coaching, consulting and training services. She regularly facilitates team building and team coaching sessions and retreats (virtual, on and offsite) with governmental, nonprofit and corporate clients. As a performance improvement specialist, she works with leading edge organizations across North America and the Caribbean. Visit Jennifer online at . Jennifer worked as an international project manager from 1992-2004, managing projects across the Americas, Caribbean and Europe.

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