What answer would you give to the following question?
What is a project team?
Don't just pick up your MBA course notes, examine a text book about management or consult the British Standard for project management and give me an answer such as:
"A project team is group of individuals and organisations responsible to the project manager for undertaking a project"
This textbook response is too objective, too cold, too devoid of emotion to do justice to the wonder of the human alliance that is a true project team.
A genuine team is one of the rarest and most valuable of human structures. A true project team is a group of people whose members:
• share common objectives
• nurture one another
• act in ways that enhance each other’s power
• are defined by having common goals, but do not need to have common characterisations (looks, personalities, attitudes, capabilities…)
• are interwoven by a thread of mutual trust
High performance teams have these qualities - from fictional teams such as The Magnificent Seven or The Rebel Alliance in Star Wars, to real-world teams such as Real Madrid FC or the medical specialists that transplanted a heart into my neighbour last year.
C3PO, R2D2, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Hans Solo and Chewbacca from The Rebel Alliance
However, I frequently come across leaders who fail to exercise enough care when creating their project teams. These leaders then appear surprised when things do not turn out in the positive way they desired.
I understand that sound commercial management is crucial to the successful delivery of a project. However, I still see too many appointments made through a "lowest bidder wins" philosophy, rather than whether people are organisationally, behaviourally and technically capable of meeting project requirements.
Like heavy drinkers, heavy smokers or people that gorge on junk food, this is a poor understanding of the laws of probability - poor decisions made now invariably lead to poor outcomes later
So next time you are putting a project team together, don't just make decisions on price, programme and scope conformance. Consider characteristics such as honesty, loyalty, fairness, empathy, generosity and unselfishness because it is these aspects of human nature that really make project teams work.