Project management teams – how are yours “selected”

How effective is your project team? Are they a team or are they a representative of a part of your business?

We receive mixed feedback from people about the teams engaged in delivering projects.

We see little time spent on putting the right team together to manage and deliver a project. Contrast this with the recruitment of a person in your organisation. The process can be painstaking in length and detail. This is not a criticism of recruitment merely a statement of what is! However, putting a project team together for a significant project is not thought about in the same way. Why not?

One reason may well be that the resources already exist within the organisation so as one senior manager said; “we must utilise our staff resources fully!” But, which people and do they have the time to allocate to the project? Little though was given here to the overall team, its strengths or who should sit on the team.

My suggestion is that you recruit a project team in the same way you recruit for a vacant position; only it should be quicker, much quicker.

Look at the project management skills required as well as professional skills. Identify who has them through interview either formally or informally. Identify where there are skills gaps and train internal people. Beware of de-motivating staff. We have had several examples of organisations where an individual has a specific skill but they go outside the organisation and buy in consultancy support.

Some organisations have used projects to develop other staff in the organisation. The project team member works on the project and their job is given to another person for a while helping them to grow and develop – so having project team members can be developmental to others!

We do suggest you avoid the ‘shepherd’s crook’ method of recruitment described by one person on a course. She was walking along a corridor and a manager saw her and using her words “it was as though I was being hooked” into getting involved in a project. She suggested because she was living and breathing she was selected for the project! Little thought had gone into the reason for her involvement and she was concerned about her day job; how to deliver both!

One final suggestion; where possible ensure that team development is included in your project management training.

If you want a project team to deliver, then think about what will help his process. Use typical recruitment processes and avoid at all costs the shepherd crook approach.

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