23 January 2023   •   Дмитрий Худенко   •   14 min read

13 Secrets for Successful Project Team Management in 2023 project

A tru­ly suc­cess­ful team under­stands its tasks and their impor­tance, can main­tain focus, effi­cien­cy and cre­ativ­i­ty for a long time, and enjoys the work itself and the end result. Team man­age­ment is of great impor­tance in build­ing such a team, thanks to which employ­ees feel their val­ue and work harmoniously.

Some­times, due to heavy work­load, the man­ag­er does not have enough resources to mon­i­tor the state of the team and build a man­age­ment strat­e­gy. In this arti­cle we will tell you a few secrets to opti­mize this impor­tant part of the work.

Project Team Management

A team is a group of employ­ees who are unit­ed to per­form one or more tasks and achieve the goals set at the begin­ning of the work. Prac­tice shows that team work in most cas­es gives the best result, because even a very high-lev­el spe­cial­ist gets stronger when he works with oth­er people.

Team man­age­ment is one of the most impor­tant com­plex skills of a man­ag­er. This work con­sists of the fol­low­ing processes:
  1. set­ting goals and com­mu­ni­cat­ing them to the team;
  2. moti­va­tion and inspiration;
  3. reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion and feedback;
  4. demon­stra­tion of a per­son­al exam­ple of effec­tive prob­lem solving;
  5. resolv­ing con­flicts and cre­at­ing a healthy team atmos­phere, a good cor­po­rate culture;
  6. expand­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties for the team’s pro­fes­sion­al growth.
Effec­tive man­age­ment of the project team allows to increase the poten­tial of each indi­vid­ual employ­ee and the team as a whole.

Why is Team Man­age­ment Important

The basis of a suc­cess­ful busi­ness is an engaged, inter­est­ed and moti­vat­ed team. In oth­er words, a healthy” team.

A team of employ­ees will not become such on their own, there­fore, atten­tion should be paid to build­ing a dream team”, where every par­tic­i­pant enjoys work and oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth. This com­bi­na­tion will be an impor­tant fac­tor in employ­ee retention.

A few sta­tis­tics that con­firm the impor­tance of man­ag­ing a team and build­ing rela­tion­ships with­in it. For exam­ple, teams with high employ­ee engage­ment are 23% more prof­itable than oth­ers. In addi­tion, they have the fol­low­ing pos­i­tive differences:
  • 10% high­er cus­tomer loyalty;
  • 14% high­er productivity;
  • 18% bet­ter sales.

13 Secrets of Effec­tive Project Team Management

Gallup states, there are 12 key needs, which have to be sat­is­fied through team man­age­ment. If they are all met, team pro­duc­tiv­i­ty will be high.
  1. The employ­ee knows what is expect­ed of him.
  2. The employ­ee has every­thing nec­es­sary for fruit­ful work: mate­ri­als, equip­ment, etc.
  3. Part­ners and col­leagues are com­mit­ted to qual­i­ty work.
  4. There is a per­son in the team who pro­motes growth and self-improvement.
  5. Over the past six months, some­one has dis­cussed his progress with the employee.
  6. Every work­ing day, a per­son has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do what he does best.
  7. The man­ag­er or col­leagues take care of the employ­ee’s per­son­al requests.
  8. At least once a week, a per­son receives a favor­able assess­ment of his work.
  9. The employ­ee has a friend in the team.
  10. Dur­ing the year, the employ­ee had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn and grow.
  11. A per­son­’s opin­ion is tak­en into account by the team and management.
  12. The com­pa­ny’s mis­sion and/​or the pro­jec­t’s pur­pose makes the employ­ees feel that the work is real­ly important.
To meet all these needs, you need to know the secrets of effec­tive team management.

Team Build­ing Approaches

First of all, you must have a strat­e­gy that will help you hire, adapt and retain the best employ­ees who can effec­tive­ly solve the pro­jec­t’s tasks. 

Select­ing team members

It’s worth start­ing with set­ting clear goals. For exam­ple, you need to build a team that will include a mar­ket­ing man­ag­er, devel­op­ers, testers, design­ers and spe­cial­ists in set­ting up con­tex­tu­al ads. Mark the following:
  • how much time you have to search for specialists;
  • what salaries you can offer;
  • what the advan­tages of work­ing in your project are;
  • what resources you can use to search.
The fol­low­ing tips could also be useful:
  1. To hire strong employ­ees, your employ­er brand must be strong. Explore the mar­ket val­ue of your brand and adjust the infor­ma­tion if necessary.
  2. More often you don’t need a team that con­sists entire­ly of stars,” that is, Senior-lev­el spe­cial­ists. It is bet­ter to form a team so that there is one leader in each direc­tion, oth­er employ­ees can be strong Mid­dle and promis­ing Junior.
  3. Adjust the size of the team. Some­times it seems that the more peo­ple, the faster the project can be com­plet­ed. This is not always the case, as a large num­ber of work­ers cre­ates even more inter­ac­tions that get out of con­trol. Most often, the opti­mal num­ber of peo­ple in a team is up to five. If it is clear that the project requires a lot of resources, it is bet­ter to divide employ­ees into micro-teams, each of which will have its own leader. It will also be nec­es­sary to estab­lish reg­u­lar syn­chro­niza­tion of the work of the teams.
  4. Imag­ine that the can­di­dates are your guests or cus­tomers. Treat them accord­ing­ly: respect their time, be hos­pitable, and stay in touch.

Team­work planning

When you have a team, you need to plan your work togeth­er. It is advis­able to draw up a plan for 6 – 12 months, with quar­ter­ly review and update, or maybe more often, tak­ing into account the tur­bu­lent present.

To make your plan­ning a suc­cess, include the fol­low­ing steps:
  1. Out­line the vision of goals and objec­tives for the team as a whole and for each employee.
  2. Write down team and employ­ee key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs).
  3. Set dead­lines: midterm and final.
  4. Cre­ate an alter­na­tive plan in case of force majeure

Team­work organization

For a coher­ent team it is nec­es­sary to build its hier­ar­chy. That is, every­one should under­stand who a leader or a sub­or­di­nate is. The num­ber of lev­els in the hier­ar­chy will depend on the com­plex­i­ty of the project and the num­ber of employees.

The fol­low­ing items are also worth doing:
  • joint­ly for­mu­late the goal of the project that is clear to all;
  • describe depen­dence between groups of employ­ees on the way to achiev­ing the goal;
  • to under­stand who is respon­si­ble for what;
  • ensure that all employ­ees know what is expect­ed of them.

Ensur­ing a com­mon infor­ma­tion field with the team

Nowa­days, few peo­ple just want to work with­out under­stand­ing the strate­gic goal. There­fore, the team leader must cre­ate a sin­gle infor­ma­tion field in which all employ­ees will be, so that every­one under­stands their role and their con­tri­bu­tion to the final result.

Project Dash­board in the Worksection
You also need to ensure that all team mem­bers have access to the same infor­ma­tion. This is the only way to make tru­ly team deci­sions. So, the man­ager’s tasks are to:
  • pro­vide reli­able information,
  • cre­ate con­di­tions for every­one to have access to infor­ma­tion, for exam­ple, cre­ate knowl­edge bases or make a week­ly newslet­ter with impor­tant mate­ri­als and
  • dis­cuss infor­ma­tion which is impor­tant for the team.

Devel­op­ment of the project team accord­ing to the life cycle

Any team goes through sev­er­al devel­op­ment stages. The strate­gic suc­cess of such a team depends on the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of every sin­gle one.
  1. Form­ing. The first stage of devel­op­ment, when the par­tic­i­pants start to con­tact each oth­er and get to know each other.
  2. Storm­ing. A peri­od when peo­ple get used to work­ing togeth­er, learn about each oth­er’s strengths and weak­ness­es, and resolve conflicts.
  3. Norming/​Performing. A peri­od of time when all process­es and mechan­ics of work have been built, employ­ees have adjust­ed to team­work and sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly move towards the goal together.
  4. Reor­ga­ni­za­tion. At this stage, the com­po­si­tion of the team or the dis­tri­b­u­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ties may change. This usu­al­ly hap­pens due to changes in tasks.
  5. Ter­mi­na­tion. When the project is com­plete, the team makes con­clu­sions and decides how suc­cess­ful the work was. If every­one is sat­is­fied, it is pos­si­ble that the team will come to work togeth­er again on new projects.

Resolv­ing con­flicts in a project team

Con­flicts and mis­un­der­stand­ings hap­pen in any team. Most often, the man­ag­er has to deal with inter­per­son­al and inter-team disputes.

In order to resolve the con­flict, one must first under­stand who the con­flict par­ties are. It is not always obvi­ous. There­fore, the man­ag­er should pay atten­tion to under­stand who is real­ly in con­flict and why, and also to find out who acts as a sup­port group” for each of the parties.

The use of the tri­an­gle devel­oped by the con­flict expert Christo­pher Mitchell will be ben­e­fi­cial. He believed that it is nec­es­sary to under­stand the atti­tudes, con­text and behav­ior of each of the par​tic​i​pants​.To get objec­tive infor­ma­tion, it is best to ask the par­ties to describe their vision of the situation.

For exam­ple, each con­flict par­tic­i­pant answers the fol­low­ing questions:

When the man­ag­er sees such filled-in tables from the par­ties, he will be able to find the real cause of the con­flict and pro­pose a solu­tion. It is pos­si­ble that the par­tic­i­pants them­selves will be able to look at the prob­lem at a dif­fer­ent point and see ways to achieve peace.

The main thing is not to silence con­flicts and not to think that they will dis­ap­pear by themselves.

«Time for video games»

Research demon­strates that new teams that played video games with each oth­er for 45 min­utes were 20% more pro­duc­tive than those who were doing tra­di­tion­al team build­ing exer­cis­es instead. 

There­fore, think of this for­mat of inter­ac­tion. It is bet­ter to choose sim­ple games that can be installed both on a PC and on a smartphone.

«Hap­py hour»

In gen­er­al, the term hap­py hour” refers to a peri­od of time when super­mar­kets, cater­ing estab­lish­ments or shops have attrac­tive price offers. But such hours are no less impor­tant in project team management.

In team man­age­ment this may mean that team mem­bers com­mu­ni­cate infor­mal­ly with each oth­er in their free time, increas­ing the lev­el of trust in each oth­er. Here are some uni­ver­sal ideas for how to spend a hap­py hour:
  • Quizzes on cin­e­ma, music, com­pa­ny, etc.
  • Would You Rather. This is a ques­tion of the type: What would you choose: cof­fee or tea?”, What would you choose: a movie or a book?”.
  • Two truths and a lie. A per­son names three facts about him­self, one of which is false.

Basic Meth­ods of Team Management

They say that a team is only as good as its leader. So, if you want a team to show growth, your growth has to be on the top. Always remem­ber the impor­tance of these com­po­nents of management. 

It is worth bal­anc­ing the amount of each style in the gen­er­al man­age­ment. That is, not all tasks can be del­e­gat­ed, and some employ­ees do not need men­tor­ing at all, it is enough to clear­ly out­line what should be done and when.

Cor­rect Prioritization

Do not tell employ­ees that all tasks are equal­ly impor­tant. A per­son can­not do every­thing at the same time. There­fore, it should be explained what is of strate­gic impor­tance for the time­ly com­ple­tion of the project or the com­pa­ny as a whole.

Accord­ing­ly, it is bet­ter to pri­or­i­tize all tasks. It is opti­mal to do this with the help of the task man­ag­er. So each team mem­ber will under­stand what to tack­le first, and what can be post­poned for lat­er. This will help to ratio­nal­ly dis­trib­ute work­ing time and pre­vent dis­rup­tion of deadlines.

Task Del­e­ga­tion 

The man­ag­er can­not and should not do the lion’s share of the work on his own. There­fore, it is nec­es­sary to del­e­gate to col­leagues what they are able to do.

Yes, you may need more time to explain the essence and stages of per­form­ing some tasks, guides and instruc­tions should be writ­ten. But there are also advan­tages in delegation:
  • the list of employ­ee com­pe­ten­cies is expand­ing;
  • the man­ag­er has more time to solve strate­gic problems.

Imple­men­ta­tion of Mentoring

This process is very impor­tant for strength­en­ing the team. Both the learn­er and the men­tor ben­e­fit. After all, when we share knowl­edge, we struc­ture it in our heads and often find non-stan­dard deci­sions for solv­ing problems.

A per­son who has a men­tor pro­gress­es quick­ly, because he does not have to go through a large num­ber of incor­rect or irrel­e­vant meth­ods. On the con­trary, you can imme­di­ate­ly learn how to do this or that as effi­cient­ly as possible.

At the same time, in the process of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, team mem­bers with dif­fer­ent qual­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els learn to ask ques­tions, answer them cor­rect­ly, and per­ceive a dif­fer­ent point of view.

Team Com­mu­ni­ca­tion

With­out good com­mu­ni­ca­tion, suc­cess­ful man­age­ment of the project team is almost impos­si­ble. The main thing is to adjust it so that it is con­ve­nient for everyone.

For exam­ple, you can agree that non-urgent ques­tions can be emailed. But items that require an imme­di­ate reac­tion should appear in the messenger.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion with­in a task in a Worksection
In addi­tion, you can dis­cuss that there are hours when a mem­ber of staff does not respond to mes­sages because of meet­ings or urgent tasks.

Anoth­er use­ful thing would be a sur­vey with­in the team. It can be ded­i­cat­ed to any­thing: from cel­e­brat­ing the New Year to choos­ing a new task man­ag­er. If you want the most hon­est answers, make the sur­vey anony­mous and inform your employ­ees about that.

Usu­al­ly, the man­age­ment of the pro­jec­t’s team and com­mu­ni­ca­tions falls on the man­ag­er, but to opti­mize these process­es, do not for­get about feed­back in the team.

Sit­u­a­tion­al Man­age­ment of the Project Team

It must be clear that strict adher­ence to man­age­ment rules does not always work. Some­times it is bet­ter to be guid­ed by the prin­ci­ples of sit­u­a­tion­al lead­er­ship, which take into account the dif­fer­ence between sit­u­a­tions and employees. 

This is the essence of this approach. Depend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion, you can choose one of four styles of behavior.

Direc­tive It is assumed that the man­ag­er clear­ly says what should be done and by whom, with direct instruc­tions and spec­i­fied dead­lines. This style is appro­pri­ate when you are teach­ing a new employ­ee so that he does not make mistakes.
Tuto­r­i­al The man­ag­er gives the employ­ee a task and explains in gen­er­al terms what should be obtained as a result. As the work pro­gress­es, the men­tor gives advice, and at the end — a detailed feed­back on the result and applied methods.
Sup­port­ing This style is appro­pri­ate when the man­ag­er is sure that the employ­ee has all the nec­es­sary skills for the high-qual­i­ty per­for­mance. There­fore, his par­tic­i­pa­tion is lim­it­ed to peri­od­i­cal­ly ask­ing if help is need­ed and what kind.
Del­e­ga­tion If you know that a per­son has every­thing nec­es­sary to suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete a task, but is not sure about his abil­i­ties, then it is worth say­ing that this is now his area of​respon­si­bil­i­ty. The man­ag­er does not con­trol the work in progress, but answers ques­tions and checks the result.

Cre­at­ing an Effec­tive Team

Above, we have already described the gen­er­al prin­ci­ples of team for­ma­tion. Let’s pay atten­tion to some more details.

Eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ria for can­di­dates to the project team

Of course, each project has its own char­ac­ter­is­tics, and accord­ing­ly, the require­ments for employ­ees will dif­fer sig­nif­i­cant­ly. But there are basic points for eval­u­at­ing candidates:
  1. Нard skills. These are, in fact, skills allow­ing a per­son to do his job. If we talk, for exam­ple, about a tester, then he should know the prin­ci­ples of man­u­al and auto­mat­ed test­ing, sys­tem spec­i­fi­ca­tions, bug track­ers, pro­gram­ming lan­guages, etc
  2. Soft skills. The fol­low­ing things are impor­tant in teamwork:
  • the abil­i­ty to com­mu­ni­cate with­out inter­rupt­ing, to argue one’s opinion;
  • skills to deal with stress;
  • open­ness and desire to learn;
  • healthy reac­tion to criticism.
  1. Expe­ri­ence. Not all roles can be tak­en by new­com­ers and trained for a par­tic­u­lar project. Some­times you need to start the work quick­ly and com­plete it with­in a cer­tain peri­od, so you will not do with­out rel­e­vant experience.
  2. Moti­va­tion. Recruiters often ask why a per­son wants to work on this par­tic­u­lar project. And earn­ings are far from the only moti­va­tion. Some want to gain new expe­ri­ence, while oth­ers are attract­ed by the oppor­tu­ni­ty to study or to solve social problems.

Rules that will help you cre­ate an effec­tive team

First of all, make a good job descrip­tion, so that the can­di­dates under­stand exact­ly how well they suit you. Spec­i­fy what is required and what is preferred.

Remem­ber the following:
  • Pre­pare test tasks. They will help to see how well the can­di­date has done the job, while a poten­tial employ­ee him­self will under­stand whether he is inter­est­ed in this posi­tion and whether it is up to him.
  • Con­duct one to three inter­views with the can­di­date. But try not to pro­long them in time.
  • Focus on onboard­ing and write ade­quate job instruc­tions. If a per­son feels that he does not know any­thing and that no one needs him in the first days, he may quit or work inef­fi­cient­ly. Instead, ready-made instruc­tions can make many process­es easier.

Things you can­not man­age a project team without 

If you do not have a clear under­stand­ing of the team’s goals and the cri­te­ria for mea­sur­ing its per­for­mance, you should not expect suc­cess­ful work. There are also the fol­low­ing impor­tant factors.

The impor­tance of choos­ing a project team man­age­ment tool

Prac­tice shows that paper blocks, Word files and Excel sheets work only in very small teams with a small num­ber of sim­ple tasks. When it comes to seri­ous projects and sol­id cus­tomers, you should use the fol­low­ing tools:
  1. A time track­er, to track the time spent on par­tic­u­lar tasks. If the project has an hourly pay­ment, it can­not be done with­out it at all.
  2. A task track­er. When there are more tasks and per­form­ers, it is dif­fi­cult to keep in mind who is respon­si­ble for what. There­fore, it is bet­ter to have a ser­vice in which the tasks, respon­si­ble per­sons and the dead­lines are clear­ly defined. If you want to have a project overview, under­stand the sta­tus of tasks and respond to any changes in a time­ly man­ner, it is worth­while to inte­grate a project man­age­ment sys­tem into your work. You can start with an inex­pen­sive basic tar­iff, and then, as the com­pa­ny grows, make upgrades.

Things to be avoided 

Effec­tive man­age­ment of the project team is impos­si­ble if com­mu­ni­ca­tions between all par­tic­i­pants are not estab­lished. Such things should also be avoided:
  • Con­fi­dence that the cus­tomer knows what he wants. Usu­al­ly, he knows what goal he wants to achieve. For exam­ple, $10,000 month­ly sales. But it is unlike­ly that the cus­tomer knows which host­ing is bet­ter and what the dif­fer­ence between SEO pro­mo­tion and tar­get­ed adver­tis­ing is. Be ready to explain patient­ly and dis­cuss a lot.
  • Hope that any mis­take can be cor­rect­ed. Actu­al­ly, it can. But won’t this mis­take be too expen­sive for you?
  • Count­ing on the fact that your pre­vi­ous suc­cess is a guar­an­tee of your future achieve­ments. Yes, expe­ri­ence counts a lot. But if you rely on it only, you can make mis­takes. There­fore, always be aware of new trends.

Tips for begin­ners in project management

If you use the tips described above in your com­pa­ny, make sure to mea­sure their effec­tive­ness. To do this, pay atten­tion to the fol­low­ing indicators:
  1. an increase in the over­all lev­el of team satisfaction;
  2. absence of exceed­ing planned bud­get indicators;
  3. reduc­ing the overtimes;
  4. time­ly com­ple­tion of projects;
  5. high lev­el of sat­is­fac­tion with work results among customers.
This is impor­tant, because there are no meth­ods and tips that are per­fect for absolute­ly all teams. There­fore, it is nec­es­sary to con­stant­ly keep your fin­ger on the pulse of the team’s performance.

In order to imple­ment effec­tive and suc­cess­ful man­age­ment of the project team, you need not only to know the secrets and rules of this process, but also to con­stant­ly test the infor­ma­tion you know and look for new options for improv­ing the process. In addi­tion, it is worth using project man­age­ment tools and ana­lyz­ing key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors of the team.

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