As a project manager, it's important to remember that a project team is temporary, and therefore, you have a limited amount of time to mobilize and merge the team into a high-performing project delivery unit. However, under pressure, organizations tend to lean towards teamwork, which can work in your favor. It's your responsibility to develop a clear and smart goal statement to engage and mobilize the team. Without a clear objective, a team may lean towards dysfunctionality, rather than hyper-functionality, which is required in many projects today. 

Some clients believe that a project should not run for longer than six months without delivering a major product and completing the project. Whether it's a waterfall or agile approach, the pressure is on. An agile approach might be beneficial, as it increases the chances of keeping representatives from many different areas assigned to the team for the fixed period of time.

According to Katzenbach and Douglas Smith, former McKinsey consultants, a team is "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable." As a project manager, it's crucial to note that a team should consist of a small number of people, which will vary depending on the project. If a project manager's span of control becomes too large, it may be necessary to split the teams into two groups under a project leader or team leader to ensure each team member receives the right level of engagement, encouragement, and timely feedback.

In a team, each member brings three types of skills to the table, namely technical or functional expertise, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and interpersonal skills. While some team members may excel in one area more than the others, they must all perform their defined and assigned roles efficiently. It's crucial to avoid selecting team members based solely on their personalities or characters, as this can result in a lack of technical expertise in the team, leading to difficulties that even the best personalities can't solve. 

A team's purpose and performance goals are interconnected. As I've mentioned before, the meaning and purpose of the jobs we take on are important factors to consider. It's the responsibility of project managers and managers to clearly and unambiguously communicate the vision and objectives of the project or department, which they receive from a divisional or corporate level. When the team's vision is unclear, it can lead to disgruntled team members, a lack of commitment to one another and the project, and quality failures.

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A recent manager of mine posted about the different approaches drivers can take when approaching a flooded road. He was celebrating the difference, and challenging us to remember that about people at work.


Speaking as someone who sometimes falls into this trap - particularly when I think I have the best idea - it is interesting how many of us have expected everybody to think the same way at work, even if that fails to get the best out of each of us.


When we come to work, it is with a background of being praised for some things at home or in our community which we do not have opportunity to exercise at work. We would like to be treated with the same respect at work as we are outside of work. We want to bring our full selves to our daily tasks, enjoying our uniqueness, but we expect other people to leave their uniqueness at the door until they clock out at the end of the day. Managing diversity of thought and strengths is never going to be easy.


In theory we are employed for our difference; Our ability to reach the right outcomes but leveraging the best of us. However, we are often treated the same by our organisations, and wonder why we do not see continuous improvement or innovation in our work group.


If no one takes a risk, nothing changes.


If you take a calculated risk, and others follow, you are a leader (preferably with good intent).


It’s the one who takes a solo ill-considered risk and gets stuck alone in that puddle-lake of failed crossings, who may not have been the leader. (Not saying they were wrong to take a risk, but the one with very little forethought and high negative impact might not be quite what we want)


But, if they go charging through, and others follow, they may be leading. 


I’m a little cautious, so may get splashed as they charge through, but then I put out the traffic cones and guide the rest through!

What about you?

Have you ever encountered an obstacle that seemed insurmountable? It could have been a flooded road or a demanding project at work. Whatever it was, you may have felt like giving up. But let us remind ourselves that we are capable of accomplishing remarkable things when we work together towards a common objective. Although we do not have to think alike, we must be united in our purpose. So, let us take a calculated risk and blaze a trail, leading others along the path to success. With our intelligence and caution, we can conquer any challenge and attain greatness.