8 Benefits of Building an Effective Project Team
Do you want to know the secret formula fueling successful projects?
That’s right; all you need for your project to be successful is an effective team.
Let’s be real – the human know-how is the be-all and end-all of work at large, and consequently, project management.
If you’ve got an effective team on your side, you’ll know what to do:
- Risks – You’ll mitigate them in a second.
- Tools – Someone on the team will know just the thing.
- Project success – A natural consequence of a harmonious team.
In this article, we’re going to discuss effective teamwork and show you everything you need to know about building effective teams.
Let’s take a look!
What Is Effective Teamwork?
In 2015, Google let researchers pick their brains to uncover what makes teams really effective.
They found that there were 5 key dynamics dictating team effectiveness:
- Psychological safety – Team members felt comfortable taking risks and didn’t fear judgement from other team members
- Dependability – Team members could count on one another to take responsibility and complete their work in time
- Structure and clarity – Team members understood goals, plans and strategies
- Meaning of work – Team members perceived projects as personally valuable
- Impact of work – Team members perceived their work to be valuable in the grand scheme of things
Out of these five, the most important was psychological safety.
If your team members feel comfortable posing questions and thinking critically, you’ll have a high-performing team on your hands.
But how do you get there?
Building Effective Project Teams
Effective team dynamics and their results are mutually dependent; one factor causes the other. In a way, it’s a closed loop.
However, once you influence the behavior on your team, you’ll be much closer to getting the benefits.
1. Project Teams Understand Their Mission
Effective project teams know what their goals are, and they understand them well.
A part of this comes from top management.
If top management and you as the project manager accurately define goals, it’ll be much easier for the team to internalize them.
Similarly, effective teams create their goals together, as well.
Ultimately, when project teams understand their mission, all the members will be on the same page, putting in the work to complete the project because of the mutual benefit.
2. Team Members Know What They Need to Do
If you want to encourage effective teamwork, your team members have to understand their individual roles.
It’ll help them take on responsibility and make good on their promises.
Consequently, other team members will feel as though they can depend on their colleagues.
This ultimately increases the level of trust on your team, and discourages team members from engaging in social loafing.
If you want your team to understand their roles, it’s best to assign tasks and make ownership of tasks clear when planning out your projects.
3. Teams Are Excellent Communicators
If you can only improve one thing on your team, improve communication.
The majority of projects fail because of poor communication.
Encourage your team members to communicate.
If you’ve just started working with your team, hold plenty of feedback sessions and ensure that everyone is speaking their minds.
You can even try team building activities to increase trust.
And in addition to encouraging your team members to speak up, you should encourage them to listen and understand what the speaker is saying.
Communication is a two-way street, and effective teams know how to walk both directions.
4. Teams Adhere to Specific Team Culture
Your team culture is the backbone of your teamwork. It includes:
- Shared values
As a leader, you should reinforce and reward desirable behavior.
Your team members should share values and demonstrate them through behavior, such as accountability.
Ultimately, team members should feel a degree of autonomy in their work.
As a leader, you can do plenty by implementing a RACI matrix when creating communication plans to ensure you’re encouraging a positive team culture.
Source: RCMT Europe
5. Teamwork Fuels Creativity
Projects are dynamic; there are always risks to mitigate and issues to manage.
However, effective project teams have no problem doing so. They are creative enough to devise solutions even in the most complicated situations.
Creativity is fueled by diversity.
Your team members are a diverse bunch; some are more extroverted and vocal. Others are deep thinkers who may need a day or two, but then they’ve got the entire strategy planned.
As a team leader, you have to help every personality on your team shine and play well with others.
And when they all feel safe expressing their opinions and get a say in decision-making processes, your team will truly reach new planes of effectiveness.
Not even conflict is a problem, if you manage it well. Encourage team members to examine different perspectives, and create conflict resolution strategies together.
6. Project Teams Share Knowledge
Knowledge sharing and coaching is incredibly important for effective teamwork.
A lot of knowledge sharing starts from the top.
If you’re committed to helping your team succeed as a leader, they’ll take a page out of your book and help one another.
You can encourage your team to share their knowledge by:
- Holding specialized brainstorming sessions
- Having one-on-ones focused on individual team members’ professional development
- Pairing up team members with complementary skills
Of course, formal training opportunities in line with your team members’ professional goals are the ideal.
However, you can incentivize your teams every day.
7. Project Teams Are Aligned
The main prerequisite for alignment is transparency.
You and your top management should be transparent about your business and project goals.
However, you also need technological solutions to help your team stay on the same page and focus their efforts towards achieving the common goal.
Good project and task management software goes a long way.
Choose a tool that includes:
- Visual management
- In-built dashboards and reporting
- Scheduling, task assignments, progress tracking
If it also has collaboration and communication features, that’s even better!
Every team can become effective.
But first, you must help them by providing the right infrastructure for great work.
8. Effective Teams Turn Failures into Successes
Every team struggles with obstacles.
Sometimes, you may not get the right instructions from clients and top management. Other times, your team members are stretched thin across numerous projects.
However, an effective project team will deal with these issues constructively.
Even if individual team members are burned out, they’ll be able to lean on other team members.
As a project manager, the best you can do is represent stable leadership that truly cares about its people:
- Conduct evaluations and self-evaluations
- Remember to recognize and reward positive behavior
- Invite your team to work with you on creating project plans and Work Breakdown Structures
- Take the time to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned after a project, and review your PM tool metrics
- Carve out time for celebration, especially after you’ve reached a milestone or successfully completed a project
As a project manager, you’ve got a unique opportunity to help your team be the best it can be.
It’s teamwork time!