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Project management - Project team, building and competences

Essay: Project team, building and competences

Hypothesis: In order to achieve an effective project development with teams regarding the industry projects, crucial steps and fundaments must be taken in consideration.
In order to explain the bases and techniques used in project teams, first I must explain some fundamental definitions regarding projects and derivatives. The impact shown on this essay will demonstrate the steps you must take in order to achieve an effective and quality project.
A project is a sequence of unique, complex, and connected activities having one goal or purpose and that must be completed by a specific time, within budget, and according to specification. It also comprises a number of activities that must be completed in some specified order, or sequence. An activity is a defined chunk of work.
Projects must have a single goal, very large or complex projects may be divided into several subprojects, each of which is a project in its own right. This technique is applied for better management control and often simplifies scheduling of resources and reduces the need of interdepartmental communications when activity is developed. Take in consideration that interdependency adds complexity and communication but it is well handled by a project manager.

Regarding sequence of activities, they are based on technical requirements, not on management prerogatives; it must be taken on consideration the inputand output technique. The output of an activity or a group of activities sequentially becomes the input to another activity or group of activities. Activities are classified as unique, complex and connected.
Unique activities have never happened before, and will never happen again under the same conditions. Elements are always different each time the activity of a project is repeated. Take in consideration that the variations are random in nature.
Complex activities are not simple; they are repetitive acts, tedious and need a high level of experience
On the other hand, connected activities imply that there is a logical or technical relationship between a set of activities. There is an order that must be followed and completed in order to achieve the desired goal. They are considered connected because the output from one activity is the input to another, just as mentioned before on this essay when the type of activities were defined.
As a matter of fact, any type of project has specified completion date. This date can be self-imposed by management or externally specified. The deadline is beyond the control of anyone working on the project and it must be handled over whether it is finished or not. Resource limits are also crucial in projects, such as workers, money and machines. These resources are manipulated by the project manager.
Now a program must be defined in order to create the knowledge needed to understand the hypothesis defined on this essay.A program is a collection of projects; projects must be completed in a specific order for the program to be considered complete. Because programs comprise multiple projects, they are larger in scope than a single project. The most important difference between projects and programs is that this last one has many goals.

It must be told that five constraints operate on every project; scope, quality, cost, time and resources. These constraints are an interdependent set as a change in one can cause a change in another constraint so the equilibrium can be restored to the project. So the set of five parameters from a system must remain in balance for the project to become successful.
Now the main topic of the essay is shown; project team, how it is conformed and what are the factors in this development. A project manager’s objective is to complete the project on time, within budget, and according to the customer’s satisfaction. A very important objective of a project manager is the staff development; he must develop the skills on his or her project team to handle whatever assignments come along. The functional manager objectives include development of staff skills to meet project requirements and deployment of staff to projects. These objectives must prevail regardless of the organizational structure.
Functional managers will look for opportunities to deploy staff to project assignments that provide opportunities to learn new skills, as for the projectmanager, he would rather have experienced staff assigned to project activities, especially activities that are critical to the completion of the project according to plan. Take this in serious consideration; the project manager will not be interested in being the training ground for professional staff. Development will be an objective of the project manager.
Another crucial matter in project teams is motivation, in most cases the entire manager can do is create an environment in which the subordinate might be motivated and then hope that they are. The project manager must create a working environment that is conductive to and encourages development of the team member and leave it up to the team member to respond positively. Denoting some motivators; achievement, recognition, advancement and growth, responsibility and work itself.
Several of the motivators are directly controlled or influenced by actions and behaviors of the project manager regarding the work itself that the team member will be asked to do. They are as follows: challenge, recognition, job design, skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback.
Project plans and their execution are only successful as the manager and team who implement them. Building effective teams is as much an art as a science. Take in consideration that when recruiting and building an effective team, you must not only consider the technical skills of each person but also the critical roles andchemistry that must exist between and among the project manager and the team members.
A project team has three separate components; project manager, core team and contracted team. Take in consideration the characteristics that should be part of an effective project manager and project team. The project manager represents the project to the organization and to external groups, most of the cases; the project manager has responsibility for more than one project simultaneously.
It is ideal to have a project manager at the beginning of the project, but sometimes it is not identified until the project is approved for implementation. When this happens problems appear, such as short schedules. Another problem is buy-in by the project manager. Even when placed in situations that are not to their liking, the project manager must outwardly display enthusiasm and support to the project, so in order to achieve a good environment, assign a project manager since the very beginning of the project.
Core team members are with the project from the cradle to the grave. They have a major role to play in the project and bring a skill set that has broad applicability across the range of work undertaken in the project. Sometimes they have responsibility for key activities or sets of activities that determine the success of it.
In matrix organizations, professional staff can be assigned to more than one project at a time, this case is applicable when a staff member possesses a skillnot commonly found in the staff. Their principal characteristics of a core tem member are commitment, shared responsibility, flexibility, ability to work within schedule and constraints, willingness to give trust and mutual support, open mindedness, ability to work across structure and authorities, ability to use project management tools.
Regarding contracted team members, there are two reasons for choosing to use them instead of the company’s own employees; shortage of staff and shortage of skills. To the project manager, this brings the need to effectively manage a team whose membership will probably include outside contractors. Some may be with the project for only a short time. Others may be no different from core teams except they are not employees of the company. Contracted team members present the project manager with a number of problems. In most systems development efforts, it is unlikely that professionals would be assigned full-.time to the project team. The project manager must be aware of the implications to the project when contracted professionals are used.

Now that the roles are identified, actions must be done to make them function as a team. Authority must be declared, responsibility, team balance, develop a team deployment strategy, develop a team development planned establish team operating rules.
These general situations may arise during the course of a project and that will require some action on the part of the team; they are:problem solving, decision making, conflict resolution, consensus building, brainstorming and team meetings.
To conclude this essay some questions will be quoted from the book “Managing the project team: The human aspects of project “ by Vijay K. Verma, as they are present in every project and are crucial to the success or failure of itself:
What has to be done and where?
Why should it be done?
How well must it be done?
When is it required and in what sequence?
How much will it cost?
What are the uncertainties?
Who would do the job?
How should people be organized into teams?
How will we know if we have done the job?
Lewis, J. (1998). Introduction to team-based Project Management. In J. Lewis, Team-Based Project Management (p. 227). New York: Amacom.
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