Manage project team process
The manage project team process is part of the executing process group and is where you actively manage the project team to make sure that they perform exactly according to the project management plan.
Often, projects are being managed within a matrix organization, meaning that the project manager does not have any direct form of power. Indeed, the team individuals will normally report to different functional managers, and these managers dictates an individual’s remuneration and conditions within the organization.
Managing human resources is probably one of the most complex areas as people can be unpredictable, can give rise to an expected conflict, the level of their morale can go up or down, and also of course for either personal or professional reasons, some may leave the project in an unplanned manner.
The result of any or all of the above mentioned aspects of human resources will have a direct affect on the project objectives such as the schedule, the budget, or quality while implementing the manage project team process.
Taking all the above points into consideration, the project manager must factor these in while attempting to keep the team working at their optimal performance levels via the manage project team process.
There are five inputs to the manage project team process:
Project staff assignments.
These are an output from the process acquire project team and provide the main inputs for the manage project team process. Project staff assignments are a list of the human resources needed for this particular project, and hence this process.
Team performance assessments.
It is important that the project manager regularly assesses the performance of the team so there any performance issues can be acted on swiftly and managed so that the issue is resolved.
These relate to the objective measures of progress against the baseline plan using such elements as scope, time, and cost, and will have been influenced by how effective the manage project team process has been. These are the actual value of these metrics must be measured to determine any difference of variance from the baseline plan. This information is collected within the performance reports.
Project management plan.
The section that is important here is the human resource plan because it provides information for managing human resource assignments, the staffing of tasks, along with the roles and responsibilities of the concerned – all of which are used in the manage project team process.
Organisational process assets.
These may be many and varied when they are to be used as an input for this process, but examples are; organisational policies procedures and guidelines for you with a resources, historical information and lessons learned from previous similar projects, and information on special corporate or competences.
There are four main outputs from the manage project team process:
manage project team – Organisational process assets updates.
Just as mentioned above, as a result of managing and resolving human resources, such new knowledge, approaches, or tools should be fed back to become part of the organisational process assets for future similar projects.
manage project team – Enterprise environmental factors updates.
These are anything external to your project that may affect your project, and a few examples could be the organisational structure, values and work ethics, the organizations appetite for risk, or the external market place for your project.
manage project team – Change requests.
As already mentioned, I requested changes to staff could occur for a number of reasons, and I will mention a few here:
May not have sufficient qualifications to carry out the work
Team members may be over qualified giving rise to morale problems or unnecessarily high hourly rates
The complex interplay between the team members themselves may cause problems in allowing the team to become fully effective. This may mean disbanding the team entirely, but more likely to replace an augmented the team with individuals whose personalities, knowledge and skills better sent the environment within which the team must work.
Any of the above situations would cause changes to the human resource plan. But because this plan forms part of the project baseline, such actions should be in the form of a documented change request and processed through the change control system.
manage project team – Project management plan updates.
The project management plan contains the human resource plan as has already been mentioned, and hence this may need an update to the project management plan itself. But remember that the project management plan contains 15 sections in total, and any of these may also need to be updated. Examples could be the scope schedule or cost performance baseline is, the risk or cost management plans, exception.
There are basically five main tools and methods that may be used within the manage project team process:
Observation and conversation.
As its name suggests this is an informal tool used normally by the project manager to engage with the team to determine any problems in particular morale so that it can be resolved.
Project performance appraisals.
This refers to 1 to 1 meetings with individuals on the project team by the project manager, or their line manager, or human resource/personnel managers. The objective here is to provide the individual with feedback on how they are performing on their tasks.
It is the project managers day to day job to resolve issues in particular any issues surrounding team performance. An issue could be anything that threatens the project progress and would be defined as some aspect of the project that is already happening (unlikely risk which is something which may or may not happen at some point in the future).
Such issues may be technical, business, environmental, or just about any aspect of the project.
Where issues cannot be resolved informally, then raising it and documenting it on the issue log is a way to bring this to management attention to assist in resolving the problem. Among other information for each item raised on the issue log, it should state the individual or group who is responsible for resolving the issue, and the log should be updated until such time that the issue has been resolved.
The interpersonal skills of the project manager is vital in both developing and managing the project team. Interpersonal skills is a broad and wide topic, but within a project, the main focus is on proactively driving and managing tasks while keeping the team motivated so that the project objectives and results can be met.
There are three important skills for the project manager, and these are leadership, influencing skills, and effective decision-making:
The broad definition of managing his defiance as carrying out an activity in order to produce the results, while that of leadership is establishing direction, then a lightning people to that direction, while motivating and inspiring them.
There are many styles of leadership, and the competence manager should recognise the importance of adopting an appropriate style for the project status within its timeline. There is a helpful diagram that shows four key styles at different points within the project timeline. At the beginning of the project the project manager should take an active role in leadership by directing the passing activities.
As the project moves from planning into execution and monitoring, the leadership style would want to move from the coaching approach to one of a facilitating style. As the project nears its completion, a use for style is that of supporting leader.
As has already been mentioned many project managers are working within a matrix organisation and therefore have only a limited authority of their project, in particular the influence they can exert of their team.
It is therefore vital that the project manager is able to influence the team and other key stakeholders by persuasion, listening, and building trusting relationships.
A discipline is needed here along with a process which is based on acknowledging the goals and objectives and obtaining the right information in a timely manner so that the best decisions can be made.
This is a large public but managing conflict in a constructive way will ensure that team morale and performance remains high. Whenever conflict cannot be resolved it should be escalated to a level of management where it can be dealt with.
Conflicts may occur between the project manager and other functional managers or with, or within, the team. In severe situations, conflict may need to be escalated to personnel or human resources department.
Methods of conflict management.
Much like risks within a project, conflict is inevitable at some point and is therefore important that you are aware of the more common ways of dealing with conflict:
This is where the problem is confronted (remember the confrontation should not be with the person), with the objective of determining the root cause of the problem so that it can be resolved.
Do not confuse the word confrontation with aggressiveness, rather confrontation should be done in the proactive and direct manner so that the root of the problem may be diagnosed and resolved.
This involves working together with many individuals or teams to come to a solution, and would be the second favoured approach next to problem-solving.
This occurs when both parties give up some aspects for the sake of reaching an agreement, in effect both sides are ‘losing’ something for the greater good.
This is ringing to bear whatever force all power is necessary to resolve the problem, but is considered to be the worst way to resolve project conflicts as it doesn’t help to resolve the root cause, often reduces the morale, and normally does not provide a good long-term solution.
This results in downplaying the problem and focusing on what aspects are going well and what achievements have been made. It does not produce a solution to the conflict, it merely attempts to reduce the problem to an acceptable level.
This is where the problem is avoided, often in the hope that the problem will resolve itself. As you might imagine this is not a favoured technique as the conflict is never resolved.
Every human being is unique and is driven by different needs wants and feelings. Since 18 consists of many individuals it is highly likely that in carrying out conflict management, the project manager will need to be able to deal with both constructive and the structure of roles of their team.
Constructive team roles.
Initiators. This is an individual who actively initiates ideas and tasks on a project, and is a positive role because it is proactive and highly productive.
Information seekers. As the name suggests these are individuals who are always helps to increase their knowledge and understanding related to the project, and as such is a positive role as they help in garnering team understanding and encouraging open communication.
Information givers. This individual openly shares information with the team and fosters good communication and information flow.
Encouragers. These individuals focus on what can be accomplished rather than what is not possible, and hence contributes to hide team morale.
Clarifiers. This individual help make certain that everyone’s understanding of the project is the same and hence is a helpful role to develop a common understanding of the project goals and objectives.
Harmonizers. This individual will enhance information server understanding is increased and this will help enhance the overall understanding of the project and its context.
Summarizers. These individuals gather detailed information and feed them back of the summary and hence increases communication and understanding.
Gate keepers. There are two versions of this particular role, the first is an individual who encourages others to get involved, and the second is an individual used at the end of a stage to make decisions about whether the project still leads the business needs and is therefore justified to continue to the next stage or phase.
Destructive team roles.
The purpose of the project manager here is to identify such roles and other diminish their power or eliminate them.
This is an individual who is hostile and opposed to the project and as such is seen as a negative role.
This is an individual who plots the information and Schwarz the flow of communication and for this reason is a negative role.
This individual does not participate in any aspect of the project has who will often sit quietly while making it clear that they do not buy into the project and hence have a negative effect on overall team morale.
This is an individual who is only interested in what is in it for themselves and their own benefit with Jude is regards to the project ever being a success. This is a negative role because in seeking benefits for themselves may cause harm to the project’s objectives.
This is a disruption to communication due to the individual constantly changing the subject often with the relevant topics, and can prevent issues from being discussed and brought to a conclusion.
This individual also disrupts team participation by presenting their opinions in the an aggressive and forceful manner world disregarding the ideas of others. Much like a bully, this individual will discourage other valid ideas.
An individual who will quite naturally take a contrary view which may have a positive or a negative impact on the team. It may be positive in identifying potential problems and seeking a resolution, or negative since it will often disrupt and reduce communication including lowering morale and progress.
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David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for US multinationals and now develops a wide range of project-related video training products under the Primer brand. In addition, David runs training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management. He currently lives in Spain with his wife Jude.
I hope you enjoyed my manage project team article!