Develop Project Team Tools & technique 2

May 26, 2010

Part 1 discusse3d the inert personal skills, training and team building activities aspects of the tools and techniques that you need in building and developing a project team. This part will be discussing the ground rules, co-location and the recognition and reward aspects of the tools & techniques armory that needs to be used.
Ground Rules, Co-locations, Rewards & recognition
When what is expected is clearly spelt out, it is far easier for people to meet the expectations. It is necessary from that angle that the expectations about behavior of team members are clearly laid down. The decrease in misunderstanding due to this clarity brings the productivity up. Discussions amongst team members on the ground rules enable understanding of values that are important to each other. All the team members are responsible to meet the standards set by the ground rules.
It promotes team work if most of the active team members are co-located or housed at the same place. The co-location can be for specific phases for the project or for its entire duration. Arrangements that help boosting team spirit by co-location are arranging a team meeting room, a place to share postings about the project progress and related issues. Any other convenience that enhance communications is a good strategy towards co-location. Just being able to sit together in close proximity enhances the ability of team members to just walk over and talk to a team mate and may be solve an urgent problem or bounce a few ideas that could prove useful.
Despite the advantages of setting the team into some kind of skunk works, sometimes it becomes essential to put together a virtual team. Parts of such teams not only sit at different physical locations but also be at different time zones of the globe. That complicates the communication issues quite a bit. You have to bring everything communication technology has to offer to ensure the team is as close to a team that is co-located. Email, instant messages, audio/video conferences everything that can help communicate is useful in such situations.
While getting a team together and getting the team to perform as a high performance team is difficult enough, it is even more difficult to keep the team together and make it perform at the peak levels all the time during the pendency of the project. As the project itself needs periodic performance measurements you need to measure the team performance periodically to ensure peak performance.
Rewards and recognition is a dependable way of reinforcing the positives to develop and maintain desirable behavior. The human resource plan must include plans for rewarding and recognizing contribution to the project. Rewards and recognitions are a tricky thing to administer. The primary purpose would be to encourage desirable behavior and team effort. Individual rewards should be such that they are valued by the individuals rewarded and that they recognize it to be meeting a need of theirs.
The need to work overtime to meet aggressive schedule ought to be rewarded. But the project leadership should be careful enough and watchful enough to distinguish this from the overtime needed due to sloppy planning or bad estimates. In a team setting zero sum rewards that only a few can achieve can be a losing proposition for team morale. An employee of the month could be such a reward thatll do more harm than good. Whereas something everyone can achieve such as periodic progress reports in time are better tools to improve team behavior.
The most tangible aspects of a reward system often is the money. But people appreciate the opportunities to apply their skills, training and competencies etc. on newer tasks and challenges. Public recognition is valued and immediacy of rewards are also important. So the rewards and recognition arising out of a project work should be available to people when the project is rather than after it is all done.

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