4.6 Project Teamwork Part 1

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He didn't wanna hear that this brand new product they were be coming out with wasn't going to be viable in the market place. And this company never released their product at all, and the team was disbanded and all kinds of bad things happened along the way. So the teamwork pieces, a project manager can do all kinds of wonderful things with setting up a good team process where everyone communicates well with each other.

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Welcome folks. Welcome to a lecture on project teamwork. Teamwork is one of the most essential parts of project success, as we will see today as we’re looking through these series of slides. As we’ve discussed before, if we look at our overview of project management, look at our diamond here that starts with Project management and the results we’re aiming toward. Results are one of the key elements in project management. What in the world are we trying to get out of this project. There are two groups of issues that the project manager has to deal with from the beginning to the end of the project constantly. We’re always balancing the technical and task issues. Technical and task issues, those are all of the areas surround subject matter expertise. Everyone on the project team has some subject matter expertise and they’re going to be involved in doing some tasks. And we’ve looked at these tasks, we figured out the task for the project by doing a number of the tools that we’ve discussed before. We’re going to look at the word breakdown structural. We’ll look at schedule. We’ll figure out what has to be done? And when it has to be done? What are the deliverables? What’s all work that has to be done in the project? All of these are around the tasks of the project and the technical parts of the project. And technical doesn’t mean just the IT group that means everybody’s subject matter expertise. Project managers, especially from some disciplines, like my own, engineering, have a little bit of a problem when we get to another part of this project. The other side, the human dynamics side. Every time that a task has to be done on a project, somebody has to do that task. Every time that we’re doing something on the project, all of our stakeholders that are looking at that, wondering about that, being involved in that, making decisions about that. So we have our team and our stakeholders, the other stakeholders that are all going to be involved around and in all the task issues involved with the project and the technical issues. Today we’re going to talk about the teamwork. So in this lecture series teamwork is the issue we’ll talk about. And another group of lecture slides we’ll look at we’ll also talk about stakeholders along the way, but for now we’re going to concentrate on the teamwork. So how important and a focus on the overall human dynamics part of the project? CH2M Hill is a large firm that does all kinds of projects around the world, and their project managers all have the same background and training, they’re all engineers of some kind. And they all got started in project management pretty much like everyone else, where they were an expert on part of the project. And then they got to be made the project manager for a whole project, even though they weren’t an expert on every element of that project. So somehow they learned to be good project managers. CH2M Hill did a survey inside their own company to find out why some project managers are bringing in the right project at the right quality level, within budget, on time, in a way that makes all of the stakeholders and all of the customers happy with the whole project and the whole process of getting that project done. And these project managers have taken good enough care of their team so that the team is still together and wants to work together again on another project, and they wanna work with this project manager. They have some other project managers that are not doing as well. So CH2M Hill said, why are some project managers doing very well, and some project managers are not doing so well? Let’s take a look at what the project managers that are doing well are managing in their projects. And what they found out is that successful project managers are spending about 20% of their time working with the tasks and the subject matter and the technical parts of the project, working with all the tools, and they’re spending 80% of their time working on the human dynamics issues, most of that being working with the project teams. That’s good for CH2M Hill but it also has something to say for all of us as project managers that yes, the tools, the techniques, the methods are important and so is successfully working with their project teams. We all have a way that we like to work with our project teams. If we look at McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y model, it says that some of us prefer to micro manage our project teams. We wanna be in charge of everything. We wanna be in charge of every task. We wanna be in charge of every person working on every task and really directing them in everything that they’re doing. Their other project managers that say, you know, I have put the right people on this project team. I have put the people that know the most about these tasks on the individual tasks. There’s no reason for me to go tell them how to do those tasks and micromanage their work. They’re the experts on this and they know much more about it than I do. Remember you are not the subject matter expert in every single part of the project, it’s your job as project manager to integrate all of that subject matter expertise into one overall total project. We’ll take a look at a different model here, Blake and Mouton built on MacGregor’s work and said, well, let’s put a little model here that says some people have focus on people in the project and some managers have a focus on results. The idea is that we can do both of these. Let’s take a look first at someone who isn’t focused on either of these. A 1-1 impoverished manager, they don’t care about a successful completion to this project at all. There was a project manager put in charge of, and this was an important project they were going to implement a standardized project management methodology throughout the entire organization, and this person was in charge of that. They also happened to be the person that did not like project management at all, did not like the discipline, did not think it should be going on in their company, and quietly sabotage the entire project. They had no focus on results, they had no focus on the team members of this project at all. Let’s look at the one that’s in 9-1 Authority and Obedience this is a project manager that says I’m going to control everything that happens on the project. Project manager puts this project team together, starts on the project, and is one of the project managers who is going to micromanage everybody on the project. The problem was that that project manager had put together a wonderful team. Together this team knew everything about this project, everything that needed to be done. And they’d worked on other projects before, they worked very well together, and they could just do this project without anybody even helping them at all. They just needed to be pointed in the right direction. Done looks like this. That’s all he needed to know. They could make that happen. This project manager didn’t turn them loose to do that. This project manager tried to direct every move everybody made on the team, and the project didn’t go anywhere. Finally, somebody in the organization said, look you got a great time here, get out of their way. So this project manner said, well that’s not my preferred style, but I guess if you think maybe the team could do this without much direction from me, I’ll give that a try. As soon as the project manager got out of the way and let the team start to do the project, the project took off and it was a great success. We have somebody in the, in the middle, 5-5 managers, they’re great managers. They’re the standard managers in the organization. They do a great job. And most of us fall in that area. We’re doing the, the best we can with what we have, and we’re doing a great job. Then there’s the 9-1 managers, the ones that are very focused on people, maybe not quite so focused on results. There was a project manager who happened to be the CEO leading a large project in a company a few years ago. This company was developing a brand new project based on, and the CEO didn’t know it but some of his team members did, based on outdated technology. One of their competitors was bringing out a new product based on the brand new technology. The CEO, this project leader that did not want to get too involved with results was so focused on people and on teamwork that he never wanted to hear anything negative. He didn’t wanna hear that this brand new product they were be coming out with wasn’t going to be viable in the market place. Didn’t want to hear that it was based on outdated technology. Didn’t want to hear that the new competitor had one coming out right at the same time, based on new technology. Before this company got their product release based on old technology, their competitor about a month later, earlier, about a month earlier than they did, released the brand new product with the new technology. And this company never released their product at all, and the team was disbanded and all kinds of bad things happened along the way. Let’s look at somebody that’s the nine- nine manager. Those are outstanding managers. Outstanding project managers. Outstanding team leaders. Those are the people who say, yes we can get the results we need as a team and we are going to work together to make that happen. We are all going to work together any way that we can communicate well with each other, we can share ideas, we can share tasks, we know how to hand things off to each other, you know the processes we have to work with, we can work together well as a team. We’re gonna take a look at some of the foundational tools that would help a manager do that. So, if you’re a project manager trying to figure out, okay, how do I just get things done? Let’s look at some of the teamwork foundations that are going to be key to helping you with that. Zachary Wong, in his book, Human Elements In Project Management Has broken, broken what we do in a project with the team in the three separate elements, Content, we have to work on something. So the project is working on something, we’re trying to get something accomplished the results. How do we do that, the process? What are the processes we have in place? Yes, we do have the initiate, plan execute, control and closed processes. We also need to have some processes in place on how we work together. How does this team discuss things? How does this team make decisions together? How do we make hand offs from one team member to another a long the way? What are the processes we put in place to work together well? And then within those processes what are the behaviors that different people display? All of us have somethings that we do very well that help our teams move forward. And all of us have a few little things that we do that might get in the way of the team from time to time. So there’s different behaviors are going to display, what are those things? Content process behaviors. We’re going to take a look at our teamwork triangle here. We’re going to first start looking at content issues. First, we need to have a meaningful purpose for the project. Somebody has to want to be on this project and want to see a succesful outcome for this project. So say we have people on there that say, yeah, that’s a project that I want to work on, and I want to see a successful outcome. What do we have to do first? We have to set some common goals. If we decide what we’re going to do is landscape our company headquarters, and we have seven people sitting around the table, we say, okay. Our job is to landscape the company headquarters. There are seven different pictures right there. Everyone has a different picture of their head of exactly what that landscaping is going to look like. We need to come up with just one of those. And then we’re going to work toward that goal. So we have to come up with a common goal. Even though we know what our project is, when everybody sits around the table everyone has a little bit different picture of what done looks like. So we need to actually decide this is what we’re going to work toward. So we agree on that. Then we find out common approaches to this, how are we actually going to get that done. There was a project team that was put in place to do a project. They started working on the project and after six months the project manager had to call someone in to help with the team because the team was in complete disarray. Team members hated working on this project. They hated everything about this project, and they really pretty much hated the project manager as well because they had something to do with the project. Now people are starting to not come to the meetings. Now people also have found out this is a very important project. High visibility with high level managers, who say people have to go to those project team meetings and they have to do this project. So now, if people don’t go to the meetings, then they get in trouble with the personnel office. Their bosses have to write up a letter for them, put it in their file. People are getting punished for not going to these team meetings. So now people are calling in sick on team meeting days. Nobody wants to go to these team meetings. The person that came in to see this meeting that the project manager called in and said, can you just come in and see what’s going on with this team, you know? Give me a few ideas about what’s happening. 20 minutes into the meeting, this person that had come in from the outside said, let me stop here for just a second, and ask this team one question. What is your project? Team looked at him and said, we don’t really know. During that six months they had tried this a little bit, and they’d try some of that. Another small group would go off and try something else. The team had no clue what their project was. All they did during that first meeting was define a project within this big, broad umbrella that they had to work under. They had defined one small focused project, and then they found out a way to work on that together. They started working on that, and the project came together very well, and in three months they had a great project, great result, and management was really happy with everything that they did. But they had to come up with some common goals and an agreed-upon approach to get this thing done. Your project’s not going to happen without that. So the teamwork pieces, a project manager can do all kinds of wonderful things with setting up a good team process where everyone communicates well with each other. Where we’re managing their dysfunctional behaviours in the group. Where we’re doing any conflict resolution that we need, we’re making decisions together, we’re sharing information, we’re communicating together. Everything’s working well with the team. There should be working well with the team, we know all the tools, but still, for some reason the teams not coming together. For the team to have a good solid foundation to work from, for the team work to ever come together, common goal, agreed upon approach. Where do we get the common goal? That’s our charter and our scope. The agreed upon approach, that’s out project plan. So, those are tools we already have. With those two pieces done well, we have a great chance of having good teamwork. So if we want to prevent poor teamwork, we need to build on a solid foundation first. And a lot of it comes right from the tools that we already know.

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