Projects, no matter the size and scope, are complex. If they weren’t, they might as well just be tasks on a to-do list. Luckily, projects are also a group effort—for every project, there is a project team working together to make deliverables a reality.
How do these teams come together? Not on their own! There are many ways to form project teams and many factors to take into account.
A project team is composed of individuals that are working together towards a common goal. This can include executives, a project manager, team leaders from different departments and team members. How this team operates depends on how it’s organized, which can take the form of different project organizational structures.
Within a typical project team structure, projects are headed by the project manager, though they also can be led by an executive that the project manager reports to. The key characteristic of this type of team is that everyone reports to the project manager or another individual at the top of the chain of command.
The project manager often manages the project, the team and all the related tasks in a project management software. Ideally, project management software allows for team collaboration as well as planning, so teams can be at there best.
Three Key Steps to Create a Project Team
As we said, assembling a project team will look different depending on the project and organizational structure. That in mind, here are a few universally helpful details to focus on when putting together your team.
How to Map Team Member Skills for Assignments
Now that you’ve laid the foundation of your project team structure and assembled the team, it’s time to start giving assignments. But, before you do so, it’s extremely advantageous to assess who has the skills to best take on certain assignments. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and playing to a team member’s strengths can majorly improve results.
In order to learn which team members are the best fit for assignments, a project manager or team leader needs to take stock of everyone’s experience and specialties. This is done by creating a skills matrix.
What Is a Skills Matrix?
A skills matrix is a table used to quantify and illustrate each team member’s skills, experience and interest level. The project manager and/or team leader must first gauge a team member’s interest in a certain assignment. This interest is then compared to their skills. Then, this comparison is added to a table comparing the skills and interests of all team members.
To make an accurate matrix, you must create a scale to “score” individuals. When these scores are all displayed in one table, it is simpler to make objective decisions that are best for the project. It is also an excellent opportunity to take note of an individual’s interests vs. their experience, and perhaps give them more opportunities in the future.
Benefits of a Project Team Structure
When a project team is structured in a top-down way, everyone knows exactly who to report to, whether it be to ask questions, get approval, present results or anything else. There is zero confusion on which team members to collaborate with.
Another benefit of a project team structure is that it is entirely driven by the needs of the project. Different projects have different demands. This type of organizational structure is custom-tailored to these demands. Now, that isn’t to say a project team structure is always the right choice. There are potential pitfalls to be aware of.
Pitfalls of a Project Team Structure
Above we discussed how project team structures are determined by the needs of the specific project. While this can be a great thing, it can also result in waste. How? At the beginning of each new project, a new project team structure must be created, rather than reusing a structure from previous projects.
Another pitfall to be aware of is the potential for the entire team to become disjointed. If the project manager isn’t careful, communication between leaders can fall apart. When this happens, collaboration comes to a screeching halt, and team members start stepping on each other’s toes.
How to Improve Team Collaboration
Improving team collaboration is easier said than done, and assuming that perfect collaboration happens all on its own is a big mistake. Successful team collaboration is the culmination of thoughtful strategies and adapting to challenges. If you’re asking yourself where to start, consider these three tips.
SYSTEMX BUSINESS MANAGEMENT PLATFFORM Makes your Project Team Better
SystemX offers the smartest team management solutions around, connecting everyone on the team, improving collaboration and cutting down on confusion. Every aspect of our project management software was built with project teams in mind, and we’ve made it easy to collaborate on any and everything you need, like tasks, Gantt charts and more.
Need to know the right person to ask a question? Use the Team page to see what everyone on your team is working on and who might have the answer. And when you’re building a new team for a project, see a roster or individuals broken down into departments or filter individuals by certain skills.