Posted by: kerrywills | December 2, 2011

Team dynamics


Project Management is all about the facts and tangible activities such as plans, risk logs, and presentations. But there are the intangibles relating to people dynamics which have a strong influence on outcomes as well. Just take a few sports examples – (1) Basketball Miami Heat brought in the Dream Team of the best individual players but for some reason they didn’t play well together and won about half of their first 20 games (2) Football Philadelphia Eagles also made some moves and brought in key players (and also called themselves the Dream Team) and then lost 6 of their first 9 games.

Project Managers must be aware of team dynamics and look for ways of improving them. Here are a few suggestions…

  • Understand the individual concerns and work to coach them and others to better outcomes
  • Have team outings and bonding experiences so people get to know each other on a more personal basis (hopefully more drama doesn’t start at the outing making things worse, so pick a neutral and non-competitive event)
  • Try to facilitate some working sessions with people to see where the points of contention are; without focusing on blame but solutions
  • May have to change the team composition to find people who are a better “fit”

The “people” aspect of projects has a big influence on outcomes and sometimes we have to spend more time on this than on managing our plans. But if the team is not optimized and the dynamics are off then the consequences could be bad for our projects.

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Responses

  1. This is so true. My company organizes days out and team building programs. we often complain about what a waste of time it is, how complicated it is to organize childcare on those days etc, but at the end of the day it does help us to get to know each other out of the office, and therefore work together better when we get back into the office.
    Another helpful aspect of building a team is ensuring that there are open lines of communication between team members and leaders at all times. The online project management software that we use, http://www.clarizen.com/ProjectSoftware.aspx, enable easy collaboration and communication that really helps us to function as a team.

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