The new project team member – 3 views

So the new team member will come on board shortly. The previous team member left the company to take a job 300 miles away and that was some 5 weeks ago. How on earth will he ever catch up? How will he fit in? Here is a snap shot of thinking from three viewpoints:

  1. the new team member
  2. the project manager
  3. the project team

1.New team member

I’m excited but nervous. After all, it’s my first project and it’s a big one. I need to impress the rest of the team and as soon as possible. It would be really useful to get hold of some of the documentation however I have asked the project manager several times but he does not seem keen on me seeing it. I’m not too sure about the background to this project and how it came about so I need to ask some questions on this.

I wonder if there is any project management training available as I have little experience.

I need to clarify how much time I am required to work on this project. My line manager seems to think it was 3 days per week the project manager implied it was 5 days a week. In addition, what do I do with all the business as usual work? There are some pretty important issues to sort out and quickly.

2.Project manager

Thanks goodness we have someone who is starting on Monday to fill the vacant team spot. I’m not sure about his skills though and I will need to look at this closely in the first week of the project. He seems very eager to get the documentation for the project but in all honestly, there is not too much to send. I hope he’s not one of these bureaucrats.

I want him to hit the ground running as we are behind on the 1st phase of this project. I haven’t really got the time to prepare for his arrival so will delegate this to a project team member, but I am not too sure who this will be. I’m glad he will be available for the full 5 days of the project.

3.Project team

We discussed this over coffee yesterday and we are glad to be getting this person on board. But, as far as we can tell, he has little or no project management skills. We suggested that he attend a course internally but we have cut the training budget and there is no course for 4 months. Jane spoke with him a few days ago and he asked about the business case and project objectives. She gave him the business case but it is scant and we all agree we do not know how it got through the sign off stage!

 

We are not too sure about this person's skills.

Confusion is rife

Looks like there is a bit of confusion here:

  • how many days a week – 3 days or 5? This is a tension the new project team members does not need and is bound to cause conflict unless dealt with in a sensitive way – with him and his boss
  • who is going to brief the new project team member? The project manager is too busy so who is and how much time will they need to prepare for this role?
  • the person has no project management experience and there is no training for 4 months so how will he learn about project management? Interestingly, the project team spotted this need, not the project manager.
  • the project manager wants him to hit the ground running but how will he ensure this is going to happen especially when the role he is taking up has been carried by others for 5 weeks?
  • the new team member does not know and has not been advised what to do about all the business as usual work he will not be able to do. Doing 3 days a week on the project will mean he cannot fit 5 days of business as usual into the remaining 2 or maybe…

There are probably many issues to consider however it does bring out the point that putting teams together is often difficult and replacing a team member brings its own issues which need sorting before they disrupt the project directly.

Projects are delivered by people but how well do we motivate and lead them, induct them and train them?

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6 Responses to The new project team member – 3 views

  1. Tony Bruce says:

    I like the different perspectives.
    I am curious:
    Why does the new team member need project management skills? It’s just stated that there is a new team member and not what he is joining the project to do but everybody is worried that he doesn’t have PM skills? Skills needed for whatever hole he is filling might be a bigger concern?

    • Ron Rosenhead says:

      Good question Tony!

      Part of the issue of course in this scenario is what role the project team will play. Teams could be a specialist people called in to provide some project management service. They are integral to the success of the project. They will need project management skills – at a minimum knowledge of the project management approach and then that leads into terminology – what does WBS mean or change control?Then, maybe, just maybe they may have to do a WBS!

      That’s my rationale – come back with your views!

      Thanks Tony for taking time out to comment.

      Ron

  2. Tony Bruce says:

    Cleverly managed to misspell my surname in the first post. Ahh jet lag, we love you.

  3. Tony Bruce says:

    I totally get the 3 perspectives and the confusion it may cause. I think that there maybe other issues to investigate though. Like:

    why a person would leave mid project?
    why a person would be hired if nobody is sure he is a good fit skills wise?
    why there is a 5 week gap between somebody leaving and somebody starting?
    nobody seems too concerned about the 5 weeks of things that (may) have not been done.

    and so on.

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