A Project Depends on Teamwork

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A Project Depends On Teamwork

Lelio Varella, PMP Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A Project is an endeavor of a multidisciplinary nature. It can be seen as a collective effort, jointly performed by people of great diversity. Once deployed according to their own and unique skills and competencies, and properly coordinated, they are able to produce major results and fulfill the expectations of the project’s stakeholders. If we look to an information technology solution development project, for example, we may identify different participant activity and group categories.

Activities - Business Processes Review, Information Technology (IT) Solutions and Services Definition, Products and Services Development, and New Processes and Services Activation.

Groups - Client Business Area Team, Information Technology Dept Team, and Outside Service Providers Team.

Project activities are work units requiring the participation of individuals from different groups within the organization, and eventually participants from external organizations, such as vendors and service providers.

These groups are formed by people with different centers of knowledge and competence who, in practice, manage and/or carry out the project activities. The members of each group are usually involved in a set of unique activities within the project.

To work effectively and produce a positive result in the project environment, the allocation of responsibilities should tie directly to individuals and not to the departments or organizations to which people belong. These responsibility assignments should be documented in the Project Plan.

Depending on their own abilities, and on the nature of each activity, each individual can act simultaneously in various activities during a project. An individual may act as a leader in one situation or a participant in another.

The overall participation and contribution to the project results from each group is measured by the collective sets of activities the group’s members complete. Whereas individual responsibilities may be shown in a responsibility matrix, a joint vision of the activities and overall responsibilities of each group participating in the project it is necessary as well.

In every project, there are diversities involved. No where more obviously than in software development projects. Teamwork depends on two key principles that need to co-exist and work together to allow success: Delegation and Responsibility.

Delegation should follow the decomposition stated in the project's Work Breakdown Structure. Split the work to be done. Then split the assignments to do the work accordingly. This is the only viable way for human beings to understand, execute, and manage really big projects.

To delegate you need to take into consideration the adequate combination of technical and managerial competencies required for each task. Once delegated, do not interfere. As the software project manager you are needed to monitor, give support, and ask about results. In doing so, you will provide motivation, earn respect, and foster team member “response-ability”.

Responsibility stands for "response-ability". Remember this when delegating, as well as when accepting assignments. Match the person’s skills and abilities to the task.

Once leadership, delegation, and responsibility are in place, each supports the other. Better results are almost guaranteed. And this leads to project success.

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