Building a High-Performance Project Team


As we have detailed the science of project management in previous chapters, there has been an unspoken assumption: that the people on the project team would work together in harmony to build plans, manage risks, perform tasks, and commit themselves to achieving the clearly stated goals of the project. But that is not always the case.

Despite detailed plans and frequent status meetings, some teams don’t work well together. Most of us, at one time or another, experience the frustration of teamwork that is characterized by bickering, unproductive meetings, and a joyless plodding as the project falls further and further behind. If that challenge isn’t enough, consider that project teams are temporary, existing only for the duration of the project—how can we expect the team members to commit to the success of this project? It is no secret that the science of project management cannot create successful projects without the committed, cooperative work of a cohesive team.

To discuss this topic thoroughly, we must begin with a basic definition of a team: “a group of people working interdependently to produce an outcome for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” Project teams have another characteristic: They will be temporary, formed specifically for the purpose of achieving the goal, after which they will disband.

Our purpose in this chapter is to provide guidelines for building a cohesive project team. It is ...

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