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Team building is the process of planned and deliberate encouragement of effective working practices while diminishing difficulties or blockages which interfere with the team's competence and resourcefulness. It is the process of getting a group of diverse individuals to work together as a team.

An effective team is a group of people who:

  • share a common goal,
  • enjoy working together, and enjoy helping one another,
  • have made a commitment to achieve the goals and objectives of the project,
  • have different backgrounds and are able to concentrate on a common effort,
  • have great loyalty to the project and project manager.

The need for team building was recognised by Douglas McGregor - "most managerial teams are not teams at at all, but collections of individual relationships with the boss in which each individual is vying with every other for power, prestige, recognition and personal autonomy."

Factors that indicate bad team work:

  • frustration
  • conflict and unhealthy competition
  • unproductive meetings
  • lack of trust in the project manager Project Team Building

  1. Benefits of team building
  2. Who's on the project team
  3. Role of the project manager
  4. Ground rules The Team Building Process

  1. Plan for team building
  2. Negotiate for team members
  3. Organize the team
  4. Hold a kick-off meeting
  5. Obtain team member commitments
  6. Build communication links
  7. Conduct team-building exercises
  8. Utilize ongoing project team development



 Project Team Building Benefits of team building

The benefits are obvious - mutual problem resolution. conflict resolution, motivated members, enhanced creativity, a created support base, interdependence, reduced communication problems, collective strength, high-quality decision making, etc. Who's on the project team

The project team should include everyone who will significantly contribute to the project, both managerial and non-managerial people. Certain supporting functions like Contract Administration and Purchasing must be on the project team. Others like Finance and Quality Control may be called upon when required. Putting top management representatives on a project team seldom works because these people do not have either the time or any real interest. Role of the project manager

The project manager is the one person responsible for the project team's guidance, motivation, output and control and can be the leader, project's technical leader, system integrator, project planner, project administrator, team's communications expediter, mender of fractured relationships and the team's den mother!

Team members will carefully watch and evaluate the project manager's performance. Unless their respect and loyalty is gained they are quite likely to sabotage the project manager's leadership. Therefore a major component of any team-building effort should be an intense effort on the part of the project manager to early develop a superior rapport with the project team. Ground rules

The team building process should follow simple ground rules:


Return to Top of Page Team Building Process Plan for team building

When should team building start? At project planning stage. Each portion of the project plan should be written with aim of providing as much impact as possible on the team building process.

What - The project goals and objectives must be well-planned because they become the basis of team goals and objectives.

How - Project procedures and controls must be carefully planned and documented.

When - Project schedules must be prepared with people in mind.

Who - The correct people should be selected for each job assignment. Negotiate for team members

The effective project manager should not settle for "second-best" since it will only make team building more difficult. Candidates should be chosen primarily because of their potential to contribute their technical or other expertise to the project, and secondarily because of their potential to become team players. Organize the team

Organizing the team means that specific assignments to specific people must be made as indicated by the project action plan. This is the time to prepare a responsibility matrix or a linear responsibility chart and circulate it to the project team. Hold a kick-off meeting

The principal purpose of the kick-off meeting is to get the project started on the right foot. Its secondary purpose is to initiate the active team building process. The objectives of a kick-off meeting should be:

It is important that the team members get to know each other. Obtain team member commitments

Personal commitments from individual team members can be best obtained by getting people deeply involved in the project. Individual team member commitments should involve a time commitment, a role commitment and a project priority commitment if they are involved in other work. Build communication links

The project manager must build and maintain all communication links. This can be achieved by making sure the right people interact and that real communication takes place at project meetings. Conduct team building exercises

Team building can be greatly accelerated by the use of special team-building events, activities, and exercises. Due to the scarcity of time, team building is therefore, most practical and most effective when it is integrated into the normal day-to-day project activities. Utilize ongoing project team development

Team building can be made an important part of each activity, particularly meetings and group or individual counselling sessions. A major opportunity for ongoing project team building occurs every time a project manager holds a scheduled or unscheduled meeting. The following are suggested actions aimed primarily at getting team members more intimately involved and more team conscious:


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