Building a team involves assembling team members, making appropriate assignments, improving individual abilities, and helping people work together in a cohesive manner.
Assembling team members is the process of bringing together the right people with the right skill sets and abilities to accomplish project goals and requirements. Executives should allow project managers to have a say in how the team is assembled. When this is possible, project managers should take the opportunity to bring in the best talent available and weave them into the framework of the project team. If it is not possible, project managers should do the best they can with what they’ve got and ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
Once the team is assembled, project managers must make very specific assignments to place team members in the right place at the right time. Great project managers orchestrate their teams to ensure the abilities, assignments and availability of team members match up with the tasks at hand. Team members who understand and accept their roles and assignments produce at a higher level than those left without direction.
While assembly and assignment are important in getting the team moving, fostering individual improvement and team cohesion throughout the project are critical steps in keeping it moving. Project managers must provide opportunities for individual team members to grow mentally, physically, socially and emotionally to reach peak performance in their project roles. Individuals become much more valuable to the team as they improve their abilities to perform.
In concert with this, project managers must help these individuals work together in a cohesive manner. The simplest methods of doing this involve making every gathering a team-building event. Many times people think they must have a large, expensive off-site meeting to create team cohesion. However, the best methods are usually much simpler than this. Project-planning sessions, project meetings and team communication opportunities all have the potential of breaking down barriers and building cohesion if treated as team-building exercises. Project managers must look for ways to lead their team into these opportunities.