Techniques for Managing a Team



Manage Project Team involves tracking team member performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and coordinating changes to enhance project performance. The project management team observes team behavior, manages conflict, resolves issues, and appraises team member performance. As a result of managing the project team, the staffing management plan is updated, change requests are submitted, issues are resolved, input is given to organizational performance appraisals, and lessons learned are added to the organization’s database.


Management of the project team is complicated when team members are accountable to both a functional manager and the project manager within a matrix organization. Effective management of this dual reporting relationship is often a critical success factor for the project, and is generally the responsibility of the project manager.


1 Observation and Conversation Observation and conversation are used to stay in touch with the work and attitudes of project team members. The project management team monitors indicators such as progress toward project deliverables, accomplishments that are a source of pride for team members, and interpersonal issues.


2 Project Performance Appraisals The need for formal or informal project performance appraisals depends on the length of the project, complexity of the project, organizational policy, labor contract requirements, and the amount and quality of regular communication. Project team members receive feedback from the people who supervise their project work. Evaluation information also can be gathered from people who interact with project team members by using 360-degree feedback principles. The term “360-degree” means that feedback regarding performance is provided to the person being evaluated from many sources, including superiors, peers, and subordinates.

Objectives for conducting performance appraisals during the course of a project can include reclarification of roles and responsibilities, structured time to ensure team members receive positive feedback in what might otherwise be a hectic environment, discovery of unknown or unresolved issues, development of individual training plans, and the establishment of specific goals for future time periods.


3 Conflict Management Successful conflict management results in greater productivity and positive working relationships. Sources of conflict include scarce resources, scheduling priorities, and personal work styles. Team ground rules, group norms, and solid project management practices, like communication planning and role definition, reduce the amount of conflict. When managed properly, differences of opinion are healthy, and can lead to increased creativity and better decision-making. When the differences become a negative factor, project team members are initially responsible for resolving their own conflicts. If conflict escalates, the project manager should help facilitate a satisfactory resolution. Conflict should be addressed early and usually in private, using a direct, collaborative approach. If disruptive conflict continues, increasingly formal procedures will need to be used, including the possible use of disciplinary actions.


4 Issue Log As issues arise in the course of managing the project team, a written log can document persons responsible for resolving specific issues by a target date. The log helps the project team monitor issues until closure. Issue resolution addresses obstacles that can block the team from achieving its goals. These obstacles can include factors such as differences of opinion, situations to be investigated, and emerging or unanticipated responsibilities that need to be assigned to someone on the project team.


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