Case studies in
teaM ManageMent
Every team member of your project has a different personality and
behavior. You are a mentor, a role model, and a psychologist to all
your team members.
Stability in the lives of the project teams members helps tremen-
dously to run a project smoothly. I had to help a troubled team mem-
ber straighten out his family issues as outlined in Case6.1.
A senior scientist’s adverse behavior affected my team’s morale and
started to hamper the progress of my project. I had to take serious
steps to bring him in line so that my project could progress smoothly.
Case6.2 outlines the steps that I had to take in order to bring har-
mony into my project team.
Errors are part of real life in engineering projects. ey can happen
in design, in a customer’s specifications, in manufacturing, in qual-
ity control, in receiving inspections, at subcontractors, at certification
laboratories, and so on. e key is to catch them in a timely fashion.
Hopefully, the error will only cause a minor distraction to the proj-
ect. If everyone involved with the project can learn from the mistake
made, you will be making a big contribution to your company as a
project manager. Such an encounter is detailed in Case6.3.
To execute a project in a foreign country can be very challenging. It
helps a lot in the progress and success of your project if you and your
team members are immersed in the foreign countrys traditions and
language. In Case6.4, my team had to be trained on the ins and outs
of Japanese business culture and business language.
In one of my projects, a senior engineer on my team decided to take
a three- month sabbatical leave from the company right in the middle
of the project. He was a crucial member of my team. ese kinds of
unexpected situations can arise in any project. As the project manager,
Project ManageMent case studIes
my task was to find a remedy to this crisis fast without hampering the
progress of my project as described in Case6.5.
Traveling to foreign countries for a job can be very strenuous. It
requires detailed preparation. Passport issues, visa issues, money
issues, security issues, language differences, hotels, transportation,
and foreign contacts all have to be dealt with in utmost detail and
accuracy ahead of a trip. As project managers, it is our responsibility
to make sure that all the is are dotted and all the ts are crossed before
a foreign trip is made as shown in Case6.6.
Nonperforming and/ or underperforming team members are always
an issue during the life of a project. Keeping them on the team or
getting rid of them has to be weighed very carefully. Risk analysis of
your actions has to be thought out in utmost detail. e effects of an
underperforming team member can be very destructive in a dynamic
team environment. Such a situation is detailed in Case6.7.
One of the important tasks of a project manager is to attend special
ceremonies involving your team members. ese ceremonies can be
birthday parties, weddings, patent presentation banquets, technical
society presentations, and so forth. As a team leader one of your main
functions is to participate in your team member’s celebration events.
Such an international event is detailed in Case6.8.
A work environment should be like a second family environment
away from home. Every employee should be able to talk and express
his or her issues and concerns to their managers, upper manage-
ment, and/ or to human resources without any reservations or fears.
ese issues and concerns can be personal ones, work- related ones, or
community- related ones. As managers, our responsibility is to help
every employee as much as we can to make them feel that they are
always under our companys family umbrella as described in Case6.9.
In a project environment, during the course of events, several
unexpected sacrifices can come from any one of your team members.
Sometimes these sacrifices can come from people outside of your
team. As the project manager, you have to recognize and appreciate
these kinds of above and beyond duties. Such an example is detailed
in Case6.10.
I have seen many project teams go through a honeymoon period at
the beginning or at the middle of a project throughout my career. As
project managers, we have to watch for slacking signs from every team

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