8 Reasons They Want to be on Your Project Team

There’s a bit of mysticism in how project teams come together. The process of assigning people to a project is usually, well…not a process. Project Managers negotiate with Line Managers to get the people they want on their teams. Line Managers provide the resources they can afford to spare. Often a Project Manager has to settle and take what they can get. It’s not always a perfect system.

There are some who do not want to be on certain projects. They may be concerned with the demands from their line roles, or the project is just not that interesting to them, or maybe the project manager has a bad reputation.

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” ~ H.E. Luccoc

As a Project Manager you want a team of people that want be on your project team. In fact, you want people who ask to be on your project. To get the best people you have to make the experience valuable to them. You make this happen by following these 8 rules:

  • Value their time.  Make effective use of their time. Start and end meetings on time. Minimize unproductive activities, discussions, meetings and presentations. Stick to and enforce the project schedule. Their time is important; use it wisely.
  • Involve them in the planning. Build buy-in and commitment by making them part of the scheduling and planning process. Ask for there input in identifying tasks, duration, dependencies and costs for the areas where they have knowledge.  Don’t give them a plan – enlist their help in developing the plan.
  • Make clear their responsibilities. I mean crystal clear here. Give them no ambiguities to have to worry about. Define their project role, responsibilities, and levels of authority.
  • Listen to them. Take the time to listen to their input, ideas, thoughts, proposals and issues. They have important things to say and want to be heard.
  • Give them authority.  Empower them to make decisions, changes and adjustments. Trust them with the freedom and authority to take action.
  • Provide opportunities for exposure. Let them have a turn at being the face of the project with senior management. Let them debrief or update key stakeholders and other executives. Highlight their achievements in project reports and updates. Give them credit when they have earned it.
  • Appreciate their efforts / successes. Thank them for their efforts and be genuinely grateful for their help. Be specific why you are giving them praise.
  • Provide valuable feedback. It’s easy to appreciate success. But, it’s just as important to give solid, actionable feedback when things are not perfect. Feedback is a learning tool that helps others to make improvements in what they do and how they act. Feedback is a gift that helps others to grow.

The best project managers have a keen eye for spotting talent and a strong network that helps them secure the best project team members. They remain vigilant in searching for talent within their organization. But, they also know that to attract the best talent, they have to offer an experience that allows people to learn and grow. If the project experience is a good one, then people will come find you – they will want to be on your project team.

What do you think is the key to building great project teams?  I’m interested in your thoughts?

“Interdependent people combine their own efforts, with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.”  ~ Stephen Covey


About Dale Myers

A San Francisco Bay Area Project and Program Expert
This entry was posted in Project Team Management and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 8 Reasons They Want to be on Your Project Team

  1. Great article Dale. All too often the people working on a project don’t feel as though they ARE part of a team. This is perhaps the greatest failing of way too many PMs.

    • Dale Myers says:

      Thank you Buddy for reading and commenting. If people do not feel they are part of the team, then they will be less likely to want to be on a future team. A PM has to realize this and make the experience valuable for each team member. Those who do are often rewarded with a loyal following within the ranks of an organization. Thanks again for your time. DM

  2. Kgomotso says:

    Wow.. This is a great eye opener. Thank you for the insight. I will do things dIfferently from now onwards.

  3. PM Hut says:

    Hi Dale,

    I think that’s an excellent post that many project managers will benefit from, and that’s why I would like to republish it on PM Hut. Please either email me or contact me through the “contact us” form on the PM Hut website in case you’re OK with this.

  4. Hi Dale,

    I loved this article. The ‘aha!’ moment for me was definitely number six (providing opportunities for exposure). I think it can be all too easy to forget that project team members are also, oftentimes, future-project-managers-in-disguise. Defining and valuing the work that they do in the present is crucial, of course, but (project) managers who help their team members envision and build their own professional futures are almost inevitably going to win the loyalty and eager engagement of their team.


    • Dale Myers says:

      Thank you Jessica for reading. Your comment, “Helping others to envision and build their own professional futures,” is simply gold. Unfortunately, I often seen leaders who do not take the time and effort to do this – then they wonder why others are not loyal to them. The answer seems obvious to me. An important part of leadership is finding and nurturing those future-project-managers-in-disguise. If you do this (and do it well), the rewards will be well worth the effort. Thanks again for your great comment. DM

  5. Ralf Schnell says:

    Hi Dale,

    thanks – great article! What you write is true for all managers, not just Project Management. Every employee, in fact, every human being values these points. You could map them to your children and they would still be true. That makes it even more of a mystery to me that so many managers neglect them most of the time.

    Kind regards

    Ralf Schnell

    • Dale Myers says:

      Hi Ralf,

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to write a comment. Like you, I cannot understand this mystery. I just don’t understand why it’s so hard for some managers to see the advantages in making a task/experience/project a growing & learning experience for the participants. It’s really a “win-win” for all involved. And, thank you for pointing out that most of what is written reflects back to values – that are applicable in all levels of personal interactions (even a child as you state).

      Thanks again – all the best to you.

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