Projects are temporary undertakings of a limited nature, with defined beginning and end points. Similarly, project teams usually come together for a definite time period to carry out specialized tasks then disband upon task completion or project closure.
Teams are generally cross-functional, and members have varied experience, expertise, and knowledge that must be effectively deployed.
Theories of human resource management position team building and development as being vital to project success. Ongoing efforts in these areas are essential components of the individual project life cycle and affect the organization’s overall project performance as well. As a means of promoting awareness of the core objectives of team development, here is a concise summary of three primary aspects of the successful project team.
Trust and Commitment
Working in a team context necessitates high degrees of interdependence because team members rely on each other for task completion. Such interdependence calls for trust among team members, and it is the individual propensity to trust along with the perceived trustworthiness of team members that engenders cooperative behavior.
Trust is also crucial to effective knowledge sharing. Knowledge is a key organizational resource, and effective knowledge sharing is critical to an organization’s success. Because knowledge sharing is a social phenomenon that takes place through interactions occurring within interpersonal relationships, the way people feel about each other is a key determinant in the promotion and efficiency of knowledge sharing. Among the relational factors that influence the behavior of individuals in organizations, trust and commitment are two of the most prominent. Research has revealed that trust is a primary factor affecting knowledge sharing in teams, and commitment both to the team as a social entity and to the project appears to have a positive influence as well.
Team condition is a product of team development and the leadership style of team leaders. An effective team, that is, a team in good condition, will be able to draw on the knowledge, skills, and abilities of members to produce outputs superior to what any individual could accomplish alone.
This type of team is marked by the presence of clear, cooperative goals that every member is committed to, honest and effective communication both task-related and in the realm of ideas and feelings, balanced distribution of participation and leadership responsibilities, appropriate and efficient procedures for decision-making, productive approaches for managing controversy, and adequate problem-solving procedures.
Such optimized teams are often the product of transformational leaders who are able to consider and influence the individual while maintaining and communicating a clear vision of what needs to be achieved on the group level.
Accomplishing tasks via teamwork requires extensive, efficient, and effective communication. Team members must have strong communication skills and the willingness to be active participants in multi-channel communication networks.
Additionally, because project work calls for communicating a variety of information beyond verbal messages, team members must be supported with networked project management tools (like on this site) that afford real-time sharing of a wide variety of information. Project team leaders must model and facilitate effective communication, and the most effective leaders promote the use of both official and non-official communication channels.