Requirements for an Effective Project Team and for Excellent Teamwork

February 15, 2009 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: HR Management,Team Building

Requirements for an Effective Project Team and for Excellent Teamwork (#1 in the series Requirements for an Effective Project Team and for Excellent Teamwork)
By Dr.Russell Archibald

Because a project is comprised of a number of diverse tasks, different people—each having the required expertise and experience—are needed to perform each task. In the broadest sense, all persons contributing to a project are members of the project team. However, on larger projects it is not possible to have several hundred or several thousand people working as one giant, monolithic team. Therefore we must identify the key project team members in order to have a reasonable number of people to work with as a team. These key team members will include at least the project manager (the team leader) and the key functional project leaders (discussed earlier). Each of these persons becomes a team leader of their sub-team within the overall project team.

The term “functional project leader” is used here generically, and includes people within the project’s parent organization as well as people in outside organizations, such as consultants, contractors, vendors and suppliers. In many projects the client or customer is an active contributor, and therefore is included as a member of the team. When possible, inclusion on the project team of representatives of other outside organizations that contribute in some way to the project can be very beneficial. Such organizations include financial institutions, regulatory or oversight agencies, and labor unions, as examples.

To have an effective project team, as distinct from simply a group of people working on loosely related tasks, five conditions are necessary:

  1. Identification of the project team members and definition of the role and responsibilities of each.
  2. Clearly stated and understood project objectives.
  3. An achievable project plan and schedule.
  4. Reasonable rules of the game (procedures regarding information flow, communication, team meetings, and the like).
  5. Leadership by the project manager.
  6. If any of these conditions is not present it will be difficult to achieve effective teamwork.

Dr. Russell D. Archibald, PhD (Hon), MSc, Fellow PMI and APM/IPMA, PMP, is one of the six founding members of the Project Management Institute. Now semi-retired, he has many years of management experience in engineering and operations with a variety of major US corporations in Europe and South America as well as the US. He has made major contributions to the understanding of project management, is author of the best selling 2003 book “Managing High-Technology Programs and Projects” (published also in Russian, Chinese, and Italian), has trained more than a thousand program and project managers and project specialists around the world, and has consulted in project management to clients in 14 countries on 4 continents. E-mail: Website:

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