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Project team

Project team

Project teams are teams that are formed for the specific purpose of completing a project. They therefore are time limited, and we would expect to find clarity of objectives. The project might be focused on an external client or it might be an internal one-off, or cross-cutting project with an internal client group.

Depending on the scale of the project the team might comprise individuals on a full or part-time basis. Typically there is a project manager, selected for his or her specialist or managerial skills, and a project sponsor. Individuals report to the project manager for the duration of the project (although if they work part-time on the project they might also be reporting to a line manager). The project manager reports to the project sponsor, who typically is a senior manager.

We know the project team has been successful when it delivers the specific project on time, to quality and within budget. Brown and Eisenhardt (1995) noted that cross-functional teams, which are teams comprised of individuals from a range of organizational functions, were found to enhance project success.

Project teams are very much associated with implementing change. However, although change may be their very raison d’être it does not necessarily mean that their members’ ability to handle change is any different from the rest of us. Indeed built into their structure are potential dysfunctionalities:

  • The importance of task achievement often reigns supreme, at the expense of investing time in meeting individual and team maintenance needs.

  • The fact that individuals have increased uncertainty concerning their future can impact on motivation and performance.

  • The dynamic at play between the project team and the organizational area into which the change will take place can be problematic.

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