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Project Manager : Project Manager Dec Jan 2014
20 Project Manager •COVER STORY CHANGE OUR TEAMS As a result of a shortage in skilled workers in the ICT industry, there is a tendency for organisations to simply create project teams based on the availability of staff with the appropriate skills and experience, known as 'eligibility criteria', says David Bryant, ACT Chapter President and Communications Council Chair, based at the University of Canberra's School of Business, Law and Government. These criteria fall short when suitability criteria such as cultural fit with the organisation, role fit within the team and appropriate personality traits are ignored. In the ICT industry in particular, the impact of forming teams based on eligibility rather than suitability may be a factor in low levels of project success. "If the 'softer' or suitability factors such as organisational culture, personality, attitudes and group decision making can be understood, then the team composition can be altered accordingly to improve project team effectiveness," Bryant says. In terms of the personality traits of individual project team members, a study of successful product design teams indicates that a project team with high levels of emotional stability and conscientiousness, and extroverted transformational leadership will have a greater chance of high levels of project team effectiveness. To build positive attitudes and a culture of group decision making within a team, organisations must form balanced teams where individuals can fit into certain roles (in terms of leadership, behaviour and personality, rather than tasks) based on their personal preference for the role requirements. Bryant draws on the research of Meredith Belbin to identify several of these roles: "A balanced team needs at least one Coordinator or Shaper, not both, for a team leader, a Plant to stimulate ideas, a Monitor or Evaluator to maintain honesty and clarity, and one or more Team Worker, Resource Investigator or Finisher to make things happen". Most people are capable of adopting all behavioural roles required within an effective team, but that allowing them to slot into roles they prefer improves the effectiveness of a team. In the event that key positions are left unfilled, team leaders are expected to fill these roles. Allowing team members to operate in their most natural and preferred roles optimises team effectiveness, particularly during periods of pressure or stress. On top of the makeup of a team, a key factor in effective project management is the social context or organisational culture in which the team operates. The responsibility for building a suitable culture for effective project management lies with project managers. This culture should be compatible with the wider organisation, built on trust and openness, and require all members to operate in a credible way. A model developed by Charles Pellerin is built around the idea that, if we are to choose teams based on social context, we need to use a model that can match a team's social context to that of the organisation in which they will operate. Pellerin's 4D model dictates four quadrants: Cultivating, Visioning, Directing and Including. Pellerin believes that most individuals have a preference for one quadrant, but can operate in other quadrants, and indicates that team performance can be improved by training members to exhibit behaviours in all quadrants. He argues that a mismatch of the project team's social context and the organisational social context will lead to project difficulties or failure. Suitability criteria such as cultural fit with the organisation, role fit within the team and appropriate personality traits should be considered during project initiation as they can contribute to success. ••• ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FALL SHORT WHEN SUITABILITY CRITERIA SUCH AS ROLE FIT WITHIN THE TEAM ARE IGNORED AIPM CONFERENCE 2014 The 2014 AIPM Conference will be held in Brisbane from 12 to 15 October 2014, revisiting the city that hosted the 25th IPMA World Congress in 2011. Details will be available early in 2014 on the AIPM website. W: www.aipm.com.au
Project Manager Oct Nov 2013
Project Manager Feb Mar 2014