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manage your project team

Team management is an integral part of a project manager’s role and it falls under the project process – ‘Project Human Resource Management’. The project manager identifies the tasks and determines the project roles required to execute the tasks and the skills required to perform the tasks. He/She has to then acquire team members. But it is not enough to plan resources, acquire them and delegate tasks to them to have a successful project. The project manager needs to manage the team such that he/she is able to extract optimum performance levels from each team member and at the same time the team is motivated to work on the project and the project objectives are achieved. Here are some aspects of team management that you should not ignore –

Transparent Communication – The project manager should inform about the project, project benefits to all stakeholders, client information etc. to team members. Resources will be more committed to the tasks if they know the bigger picture rather and the value of the project than just their tasks and task objectives.

Track Performance – The project manager needs to track performance of each team member. He/She should be aware of which tasks are done by which team member, the status and level of performance. The team member should be given appropriate feedback. If the resource is doing well, appreciating in front of other team members boosts the morale and inspires others to do well. If the team member has achieved a major breakthrough, an award or and an appreciation mail keeping senior management informed will also motivate the team member. Performance reports that measure the progress of team members using time, cost and quality parameters should be generated regularly. This will help measure performance over the course of the project.

Handle incompetent performance – If any team member is not doing well, concrete details with examples should be given to him as to why the manager thinks he is not doing well. Other team members can be asked to assist/guide him in some tasks. The team member can be given other tasks which he may perform properly. If the resource is not performing well for a long time, it may be best to release him from the project. A monthly meeting with project team members on their performance can be used to share constructive feedback. The organization’s performance appraisal process should include the feedback from the project.

Training – Training is a useful motivation tool. Appropriate training needs to be identified for resources and arranged as per organization’s criteria. Training in new skill sets, new technologies act as a carrot to motivate employees to give their best performance. It helps in talent management. Team members who show potential leadership skills can be given training in leadership courses. Employees with high technical skills can be sent to technical trainings and workshops on architecture and design so that they can be groomed to take on the next level challenges.

Conflict Resolution – Each individual is different and there can be issues and conflicts between team members. It is not necessary for team members to be the best of friends but they should work towards achieving project objectives and act as part of one team. Project managers should anticipate conflicts and disagreements beforehand and take steps to avoid issues. If there are conflicts between team members, project manager should take steps to resolve issues. There can be a open communication forum with all involved so that issues can be sorted or people can reach a middle path so that the team works together as one unit for successful project completion. The project manager can use tools like using the right conflict management approach, escalations to senior management/HR if required.

The project manager needs to play different roles at different stages of the project. For example, his direction and leadership skills will be required more in the initial stages of the project when the team is working together for the first time. Team members have different characteristics and different ways of working. The project manager has to use organization skills to develop guidelines that the team needs to adopt while working in the project. The project manager needs to use different characteristics to bind the team as one. He/She has to use his/her position, subject matter expertise, knowledge, personal appeal and reputation to manage the team members. There are various leadership styles. The project manager has to use the right leadership style (Directing, Coaching, Facilitating etc.) at the right time as per team members’ actions to have smooth project processes and team relationships so that the project is a success.

What tools do you use to manage your project team?