PMP Managing The Team
Managing the project team is different from developing the team.
In order to effectively manage a project team, the project manager should do the following:
- Use an issue log
- Keep in touch
- Complete project performance appraisals
- Actively look for and help resolve conflicts that the team cannot resolve on their own
Manage project team is done during the monitoring and controlling process group and is thus focused on measuring and controlling the project to the project management plan. In this case, the measuring relates to team members’ performance. Yes, measuring team members’ performance. This may be something you never do in the real world.
No one likes to be measured and no one likes to measure people, yet if the project manager shies away from this, the project will suffer and the impacts to the project of actions of one team member will not be known. If you find it hard to do such measurement, let me clarify something.
Is it ethical to reprimand or penalize someone for not performing when they were not given clear direction? What if they did not agree to that direction? How many times in the workplace have you gotten in trouble for not meeting a deadline someone else set and you never agreed to? In good project management, the project team helps to create the project management plan. As a result, they find measurement to be more acceptable.
“I helped create this plan, so I do not mind being held to what I agreed to,” a team member might say. Think about your real world. If you ever have difficulty gaining cooperation, it might be a lack of trust, poor reward system or even the fact that team and stakeholders were not involved in creating the plan.
Another reason to measure team members’ performance is for the benefit of other team members. Think of the decreased trust, increased anger and other effects when one person is not doing what she agreed to and the others are.
The results or outputs of managing the project team include:
- Requested changes
- Recommended corrective actions—what staff to change, what rewards or reward system changes are needed, disciplinary actions needed to correct problems
- Recommended preventive actions to reduce the probability or impact of problems before they occur
- Input to team members’ individual performance appraisals
- Lessons learned documentation
- Changes to the project management plan
Observation and Conversation
The project manager watches what is going on and also specifically talks to people to understand how things are going. Note that this does not say, “looks at the status reports.” Such reports only tell part of the story and are produced after the fact. Other, more proactive actions, such as this one, are needed to control a project.
Project Performance Appraisals
Evaluation of the performance of employees by those that supervise them is a common business practice around the world. This evaluation should include the employees’ work on projects. The project manager can adjust the project to handle changes in performance based on these appraisals.
A new and sophisticated way to complete performance appraisals is to include input of co-workers and subordinates as well as supervisors. This may result in a clearer picture of actual performance and is called a 360-degree review.
Note: This assumes that those supervisors separately evaluate performance on projects in addition to the day to day work of their employees. Unfortunately, this level of support may not be present in your organization. It also assumes that the team member is being supervised by someone other than the project manager (a matrix organization).
There are two similar concepts in this chapter that can be confusing: team performance assessment and this topic, project performance appraisals. The project manager will collect information from team members’ supervisors when project performance appraisals are completed. Team performance assessment is done by the project manager in order to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the team.
Issue Log Many project managers keep a log of the issues to be resolved on the project, but did you realize this is a tool to manage the team and stakeholders? Such logs tell people that their needs will be considered, even if they are not considered at the time the issue arises. Smart project managers control issues so that they do not impact the project.
Powers of the Project Manager
This section should be titled, “How to get cooperation from team and stakeholders.” Do you have a problem with this? Project managers almost always have difficulty getting people to cooperate and perform, especially if they are working in a matrix organization. Therefore, it is important for the project manager to understand what they can do to get people to perform. These are the “powers”:
Formal (Legitimate) Power based on your position. “Do the work because I have been put in charge!”
Reward Giving rewards. “I understand that you want to participate in the acceptance testing of this project. Because of your performance, I will assign you as part of that team!”
Penalty (Coercive) Being able to penalize team members. “If this does not get done on time, I will remove you from the group going to Hawaii for the customer meeting!”
Expert Being the technical or project management expert. “I hear the project manager has been very successful on other projects. Let’s give her a chance!”
Referent Based on the project manager referring to the authority of someone in a higher position. “The vice president has put this project at the top of his list! We will do the work on this project first.”
Note: The best forms of power are EXPERT and REWARD. Penalty is the worst choice. FORMAL, REWARD and PENALTY are powers derived from the project manager’s position in the company. EXPERT power is earned on your own.
On the exam, expect questions that describe a situation and then ask you what to do. The options will include examples using various forms of power. To answer these questions correctly, notice if penalty is being used and if it should be in the situation.