4.8 Project Teamwork Part 3

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When they finally get into the Performing phase, that's when we can pretty much turn things over to the team and just give them the support they need along the way. And there's equal sharing of responsibility, duties, expertise, the team's working really well together, it's all integrated well, and we just are helping all of that happen along the way. They can work well together, make decisions together, resolve any conflicts that come up, address issues, be creative, they can do all the things we need to do as a team.

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We’re going to look at stages of group development also. What happens in the group is that the group comes together, and when you first put the group together they are not a team. It’s just a group, a group of people sitting around a table. Nothing to do with teams, nothing to do with teamwork. So you’re going to go through some stages of coming together as a team, we hope. First thing is Forming, put them together, group comes together. Okay, here’s all these other people. I see I’m here. Well, wondering how all this is going to go. Next stage is Storming. Well, I don’t really like quite what we are doing here. I don’t quite understand the project, and I don’t think this is exactly how I want things to go. I think some of the process, put in place for working together, are not quite the right ways to do all of this. I think we should change that a little bit. We finally get through all of that into the Norming phase where everybody says, okay now we’re able to work well together, let’s start working well together. The Norming phase is a phase where everybody is starting to work really well together and sometimes almost too well together. Because the group starts to think they’re the best group of people on the face of the Earth and they just wanna go everywhere together. You just wanna take these people with you every place. You want them to come back to your desk with you and do all of your other work with you. You want them to come home with you and go out to dinner with you. You wanna take these people every place with you cuz it’s a great group of people. I just wanna be with them all the time and work on everything that I have with these people all the time. The problem in the Norming stage is since this group thinks they’re so good they don’t think they could ever make any mistakes. Sometimes they don’t think well enough through what they’re doing to look at possible mistakes that some of their decisions may cause. They don’t look at possible risks now that they’re facing because of some of the decisions or actions that they might take will cause. They’re not thinking through things well enough, they’re looking kinda right in front of them and saying this feels really great and seems really good right now, okay, let’s move forward. The Performing phase is where they finally start to look at things a little more deeply and start to realize, oh wait a minute, maybe everything we come up with isn’t exactly perfect. Maybe we should examine this things a little more, in a little more depth to figure out, mm, should we doing anything different here. The Forming stage. The Forming stage, people need information in the Forming stage. When you put your team together, what do they need from you so they can to become a team? They need a lot of information. People wonder what they’re going to be working on, clarify the project itself. How are we going to work together on this? So clarify the steps you’re going to go through. They’re also going to try and figure out what’s my role in this thing? What am I doing here? How do I communicate with other people on the project team? How do we all communicate with each other? What things can I share in here? How are we going to make decisions? If someone has an idea, how do we examine that and say yes or no to that idea? How do we work together? How do we collaborate? How do we make hand-offs from one person to another? How do we do those things in this team? So now we get that all figured out. Everybody is pretty good with how we’re working together. And we start working together and realize you know, this isn’t exactly the way that we’d like to work together. Sometimes this stage can really stop a team from moving forward because we can’t resolve some of the issues or we don’t take the time to resolve some of the issues. All the issues have to be resolved somehow. And sometimes we barely even notice we’ve gone through this. Maybe this is just a simple change and some of the ground rules we’ve laid out for the project team. So maybe we’ve got ground rules in the Forming stage about how we’re going to handle meetings. One person talking at a time, listening to everyone before to make sure that they’re finished speaking, let everybody’s finished their statements. Try to understand what they said. If you don’t quite understand what they said ask some clarifying questions. Have some ground rules based on things like that to help us work together. And then we decide in the Storming phase, well you know there’s a couple ground rules we need to add and maybe one or two we can take out of there, that aren’t really helpful for us right now. May be as simple as that. There’s another group that is a really bad example of this, a good example of the Storming stage because their team had completely stopped working because they got stuck in this Storming phase. There was a group of people that had been put together on a government project by a high level government authority. One of the governors of one of the states in the United States put a group of people together to put a program together that would take care of children from the time they were born until they were three years old, if they had any kinda severe mental or physical health need. So, here’s a bunch of little kids that people wanna take care of. And this was put together. Because there are programs to help these children in this state that they were looking at. But sometimes there would be a child who didn’t match any of the requirements of the program, and so didn’t get any kinda the medical assistance that they really needed. So, this group was put together to put a safety net together, to make sure that we take care of all the kids who have any severe physical or mental health needs of some kind. So on this, doctors, children’s doctors, parents, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, people who really want to take care of these little kids. We put a bunch of people together on this team. After two and a half years, they have done nothing. So in the whole two and a half years, there’s been some kids that needed some help that didn’t get it because these people simply can’t work together. What had happened is, they’ve gotten stuck in the Storming phase. They would not talk to each other. In those two and a half years they had broken into three separate groups within this team. And no one from any of those groups would talk to any of the other groups. So they would come to meetings, and these meetings usually lasted two or three days. Everybody would just sit there and not talk until they went to lunch, until they went to the supper in the evening. Until they were finished for the day and they went out for the evening someplace. They talked to each other in a group, but they wouldn’t talk to the other groups. So again, somebody was brought in from the outside to say okay, we have to get these people working together somehow. So this person started a meeting at 7:30 in the evening, after everybody had had their evening meal. Meeting starts at 7:30 and the person brought in from the outside is going to work through this and get everybody to start saying what is it about these other groups that’s keeping you from working with them. By midnight finally people started to say this thing, and this thing, and this thing. And here’s what we would like from this other group, and here’s what we need from that other group. And if they could do this, we could work together with them. And here’s the thing they do that really gets in the way of us working with them. So at midnight this is all starting to come out. By 1 o’clock in the morning, people have been crying, they’ve been pounding on the table, they’ve been hollering. By 2:30 in the morning, everybody is completely worn out. All of the issues have been brought out. Everyone has talked about what they need from the other groups and what the other groups are doing, they get in their way. And now they’re starting to figure out, well, maybe we could work together if you’ll do this and we’ll do that. And now the three groups go to bed that night thinking maybe we could work together. They get up in the morning. They’re going to be there for two more days of meetings. That next two days of meetings, they work really well together, they start to put this policy together that they’re going to give to the Governor. They meet one more time for a day and a half. Finalize this policy, hand it to the governor. It goes to the legislative body who votes on it, and it went right through without one single change at all. And now all of a sudden, the program is in place for these little kids. But they had to get through that Storming phase. They were stuck in that for two and a half years. That’s a really strong example of the Storming phase. You’re not going to have problems that extreme in your projects, but some teams do get stuck in the Storming phase like that. With any luck at all, you change a few ground rules and keep moving on, to get into the Norming phase. What does the team need from you in the Norming phase? They need you to challenge them, because the team will think that they are the best people on the face of the Earth, and they don’t want to listen to anyone from the outside. It’s them, they’re thinking of everything, they’re perfect no matter what they come up with. It’s the best thing that could possibly be done. You just need to challenge them to think a little bit deeper. Once they started to do that, they’ll get into the Peerforming phase. And now what’s your job? Your job is to support them. Make sure they’re pointed in the right direction. As they’re moving forward you make sure that they have everything they need. When they get to a point in the project where they need some things you make sure that’s there for them. Whatever kinda support materials, whatever it is, it’s there for them, ready to go. So that they don’t have to slow down at all. If you look ahead of the team and you say oh, there’s a barrier in their way, you get that barrier out of the way so that they can just keep moving forward fast, they’re moving fast. They’re doing well now. And you don’t want anything to slow them down. Lao-tsu has a saying about leadership. The good leader is the one that the people say, we love them. The bad leader is the one that the people say, we hate them. The great leader is the one that the people say, we did it ourselves. When you have your team out there working really well together in this Performing phase, you basically just stay out of their way and give them all the support that they’d possibly need along the way. So what might that look like on our scale here that McGregor has put together for us. Forming stage. We might have to take a lot of leadership role in here, we may have to actually give the team a lot of direction during this Forming stage. They don’t really know what’s going on, how they gonna work together, they never worked with these people before. They didn’t really know how all this is going to go, they need a lot of information, help, guidance, along the way. Storming, well, they’re going to give us some information about what they would like changed, and we will change things the best that we can. We also have to make sure that, okay, this is my team, and these are the things we need to accomplish. And, yes, I want to hear what you need, and here’s some things as project manager that I’m going to need out of all this as well. Then we get into the Norming phase and they’re going to start taking over more of what goes on in the team. They’re actually starting to work on this project and work on it well now. But we’re still project manager and we need to make sure that they’re not going down a wrong path somewhere. If they start to do that, we need to say let’s stop and take a look at this, see if this is actually the right direction. When they finally get into the Performing phase, that’s when we can pretty much turn things over to the team and just give them the support they need along the way. If we have a team that we have worked with a lot before or maybe the team itself has worked a lot together, these stages of group development might be father up on this end where they can do a lot of things themselves. As the team comes together first, there will be a lot of individual work. As we start moving forward, now we start to get some communication patterns going on. We’re still the central focus of things going on in the project at this point. And then we finally get all the communication channels built. We’re working well together. The team is working well together. But they’re still looking to us for a lot of the guidance along the way in the project. And then finally, we just become another team member along with everyone else. And there’s equal sharing of responsibility, duties, expertise, the team’s working really well together, it’s all integrated well, and we just are helping all of that happen along the way. Again, when we get a team working well together, we’ve addressed all of our issues here of the meaningful purpose, common goals, the agreed upon approach. We’re sharing our responsibility for the project and the technical expertise is being used from everyone, our subject matter expertise, their skills, their abilities. And then they also have now developed into a group that can problem solve well together. They can work well together, make decisions together, resolve any conflicts that come up, address issues, be creative, they can do all the things we need to do as a team. And what are we doing that for? One thing. The only reason you need to have good teamwork in your project is not to make everybody’s life wonderful. You’re not trying to change everybody’s life and give them a wonderful happy life forever. What you’re trying to do is get these people to work well enough on your project so that you get a successful project that provides the correct scope, meets the quality requirements, comes in on time, within budget. And you’re going to do that in a way that takes good care of all the stakeholders along the way. So that they would want to work with you again and be involved in another projects with you and the same thing with the team. You want the team to be together at the end of the project, working well together, you’re sad to even leave this group and move on to something else. But you’re just going to disband the team and individuals and go off to separate directions, but you would like them to come back in that group or other groupings at some point to work on another project with you. Those are some of the key elements, the overview of team leadership. And there are a number of references that you can take a look at and other courses you can take to follow up in-depth on team leadership, a key element of success for project management. Thank you.

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