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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Teaming

Your team must be a cohesive unit that performs well together during project execution. It is your job as the project manager to make sure this is happening. Two elements are important to developing your project team. The first is improving the feelings of cohesiveness so greater productivity takes place through teamwork. The "Teaming" sections in the last several chapters have referred to the Tuckman model, and I've provided ideas on what to do to get your team to the performing stage of team development. Hopefully by now you have done some extensive work to get your team performing well. You have used concepts such as doing team-building activities, setting up team norms, and providing rewards and recognition to develop the team. But you still need to address one more aspect of team development: training. A team will not complete its development until the team members feel secure in their ability to get the job done.

Training involves many different aspects. I cover a few here that are most integral to the successful completion of your project. The first is skills-based training.

Your project could be bringing a new way of doing work or a new technology to your organization. You will want to make sure that your staffing management plan covers this type of training needed for the resources of your project. Make sure that the training provided is just in time: You don't want to have to retrain your team members because the class was two months before they actually got to start the work.

The second type of training to provide is training on the project itself. It might be wise to hold an orientation session for each new team member who joins the project. This would include meeting the rest of the project team and walking through the project plan. Be sure to spend sufficient time on all elements of the project plan. Make sure that you cover the areas the new team member will be working in and that the other team members understand them. Also be sure to cover the team norms and rules of engagement that you all have agreed upon. You'll want to get concurrence on the idea that the team members will comply with the team norms.

The next type of training that you will want to provide is based on the individual's performance on the project. You might find as you work with certain team members that they lack either the technical or the management skills necessary to satisfactorily perform their job. You'll figure this out by observing their performance and getting feedback from other team members. Another tell-tale clue is tasks that are running late. Sometimes people just don't have the skills to get the work done. You must create training opportunities as the need arises on your project. You might have to send the individual to formal training, or you might find a way to give on-the-job instruction.

Sometimes all a new team member needs is a little mentoring to feel confident enough to get the task done. Polish off your general management skills and determine the best approach for each individual team member.

Continue to monitor team development through the rest of the project. Remember that the dynamics of the team change every time a new team member joins the team. Now let's talk about information distribution and executives who are hard to pin down.

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