How to build the best project team: The 4 key features

Timo Gerhardt, Wednesday 21 September 2022 | Reading time: 7 min.

In addition to project-specific skills, there are several fundamental skills that any good project team should possess.

What makes a good project team?

At the beginning of each project, the project manager has to put together a suitable project team. For this purpose, the requirements of the respective project are usually evaluated. To meet these requirements, certain project-specific skills are needed. The project team is then put together according to these skills. The goal is to create capacities to handle the project as efficiently as possible.

But combining project-specific skills in a team is only half the battle. Project managers often neglect the fact that there is a set of basic skills that are needed in every project. We present these 4 essential skills below. 

Content:

Expertise in a discipline

A project is always a multidimensional construct. A heterogeneous project team with experience in many areas adds great value. For example, a team of programmers is not sufficient, even for a software project. Here, also team members with expertise in e.g. finance or marketing are needed.  Sensible budgeting ensures that the project stays within set financial limits. Insights from market research and a strongly customer-oriented perspective from employees with a marketing background can ensure that the project result reflects what the customer actually needs. The core of the project may not lie in these areas, but neglecting them can lead to budget overruns or a solution that is of little use to the customer. 

A project is never limited to just one discipline. Even if the focus of the project is on a very specific area, collaboration with other departments creates synergies highly beneficial to the project’s success. 

Problem Solving

It is rare for a project to run without problems. Clients may change their requirements, members of the project team drop out at short notice, or certain resources are not available. Since it is hardly possible to factor in all possible problems in project planning, a certain problem-solving competence among the project team is indispensable.

Being a good problem solver basically means having a well thought-out and systematic approach to tackling problems.

In practice, solving a problem is a process consisting of the following 5 phases:

  • Identification: First, identify where the problem really lies, even it is painful to address it. A clear and holistic definition of the problem, preferably documented in writing and with pictures, is essential.
  • Analysis: In this phase, it is necessary to discuss how the problem could have come about and what consequences it has for the further process. The aim is not to find culprits, but to identify systemic stumbling blocks that can be removed for future projects.
  • Creativity: Finding a suitable solution often requires a cognitive change of perspective. Design thinking can help to find creative approaches to solutions.
  • Implementation: Problem-solving competence also means taking the initiative. Choosing a proposed solution and implementing it requires a certain degree of responsibility.
  • Control: Since many problems cannot be solved with the first implemented measure, controlling the effectiveness of each measure is of high importance. 

Social skills

A project team is a complex social construct. People with different backgrounds, experiences and values come together in the context of a project. Often, these people are working together for the first time. To enable goal-oriented collaboration under these circumstances, team members must demonstrate a broad range of social skills. They help avoid interpersonal tensions and create a pleasant working atmosphere. 

The focus here is clearly on teamwork. In addition to the ability to work effectively with others, related skills such as active listening, empathy, patience or flexibility are also of great importance. 

Organizational skills

Good organization helps the project team complete tasks while avoiding conflicts between the parties involved. A lack of organization, in turn, leads to chaos and misunderstandings within the team.

Communication is a key factor: Interactions between team members, stakeholders, and other departments of the company needed for the project happen on many digital platforms as well as in real life. It is essential that project related information is documented and accessible for everyone involved.

Also of great importance is transparency. By disclosing the progress and possible inconsistencies, coordination within the project team is made possible. Bottlenecks in the project process are thus identified, duplicate work is avoided, and employees are more efficient. 

Conclusion

When assembling a team for your next project, don't look exclusively for team members with expertise in the particular discipline. Interpersonal and organizational skills are just as critical to the success of your project. Even the best experts are of little use to your project if they are not able to communicate with the team or organize themselves. Honing existing skills and learning new ones is an ability that every modern employee needs to have.

A suitable project management software can support your project team, among other things, in the internal project organization, collaboration and communication. The project management solution from InLoox also adds value to your project in many ways.

Test InLoox now for free!

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