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