What’s the most important resource in your company? Obviously, many people will answer that question with money. While there is no question that money is essential, I would submit that highly functioning teams are more important. How can companies build highly functioning teams? This blog outlines four ways to improve project team effectiveness.
Improving the effectiveness of your project teams is one of the most important investments your company can make. Consider that highly effective teams have:
- Greater commitment to the work;
- Accountability to and respect for each other;
- Stronger ability to solve problems and self-manage.
What are some ways to improve project team effectiveness?
Clearly define a compelling “why?” statement for each major project.
Increasingly, young people want to work in organizations where they can buy into the vision. This same need funnels down to having a preference for projects which have a compelling “why?” statement. It’s just simply more fun to work on projects that excite you. But don’t assume that everyone on your team understands why you are doing each project. Write it down – in a clear and compelling way.
I remember a project manager telling me years ago that he would never use Smart Projex because he wouldn’t want his management to know how far behind his projects were. Sad…
Transparency is enhanced when teams use an online tool that tracks project attributes. Every project activity, both large and small, should have one person who is responsible for the work. Memories are short, so document the details. What are the issues, problems, risks, and questions? Assign someone to address these matters. When problems are addressed before they become major, it saves time and money.
If you are tracking hours worked on your projects and managing against a budget, your data needs to be entered promptly. When someone bills time on a project and waits to enter that data, it can quickly throw a project into the red before people know what has happened.
Transparent tools can build a culture of accountability. A word of caution: Online tools are only reliable when the data are current – and data changes all the time. Pick a day and time that each team member will work towards and use that data for executive reporting.
Create an environment that encourages full disclosure.
When your team is expected to openly confront problems rather than hiding them, it creates a culture of full disclosure and team support. Set aside time frequently to identify problems, address them openly, document them, and, when appropriate, assign them to someone on the team to solve.
Allow teams to struggle.
The phrase “conflict is where the truth is” has been attributed to Ben Horowitz. It is so important to let teams work through struggles. That’s where growth occurs.
As teams struggle, team members witness the gifts that other people bring to the process. This builds respect for others, and an awareness of the importance of diverse teams. No one can know everything. We all bring different gifts. Celebrate those gifts.
Do you have other ways that you improve project team effectiveness? Share them in the comments below. And sign up for our newsletter for more tips.