The key to a successful project lies with the team orchestrating it. The stronger the team, the more successful the project. But a strong team doesn’t just magically happen; here are five key characteristics that help to create a successful project team.
Goals should be well-defined and measurable so that everyone in the team is on the same page and understands the direction in which the project is going. Even if just one person is unsure, it can have a domino effect on the rest of the team and risk de-railing the whole project.
Involving team members in the goal setting process can also be very valuable, as a Gallup study proved that employees are 3.6 times more likely to be engaged if included in the process. A typical framework to follow when creating clear goals is SMART:
Specific – is it well-defined so that everyone in the team is able to understand the vision and purpose?
Measurable – have you broken down each stage into measurable steps?
Attainable – is it achievable and realistic, in line with the resources, knowledge and time available?
Relevant – is it the right time to implement and how much does it matter to the project?
Timely – what is the timeframe and is there enough time for completion?
In many sports teams, there are set positions and responsibilities to abide by, and this applies to project teams as well. Having set roles and responsibilities helps define how the team will work together, set expectations and assign tasks to the appropriate people. Not only this, taking on certain roles and responsibilities can make people feel more valued, thus boosting morale and generating a positive impact on the project’s effectiveness. So, it’s a win-win for everyone!
Communication is a fundamental element in any team, especially project teams. Open and clear communication helps avoid the classic Chinese whispers scenario, where the original message gets distorted along the communication channel and the final recipient ends up with completely different message. This also heightens the importance of listening skills, as without the ability to listen, how do you know what to communicate?
Whilst co-operative working is encouraged, it’s important to have effective leadership and management as well. This is especially important in the event of conflict, which can cause a ripple effect throughout the team and negatively impact the projects progress too. A leader is therefore in charge of managing the project, as well as the individual team members to increase the project team’s success. The PMP certification is a great course that recognises demonstrated competence in leading and directing project teams and helps you solidify your project management skills.
Morale and well-being are crucial to building a successful project team. Team members that are disengaged and negative can create a sour environment that disrupts communication and harmonious working. In any team, there will inevitably be varying personalities, but a positive atmosphere can help neutralise any risk of conflict or negativity.
Every project team works in different ways and what works for one, may not work for the other. However, these five characteristics will help create a harmonious and effective project team that will generate a successful project.