Sometimes availability is the only criterion used to determine who will be part of a project team. If Chris and Sue and John are all available and your project needs three more people, guess who the likely candidates are? The truth is there are many other factors to consider when assembling a project team. In fact, some people can be such bad fits you would be better off without them. So, if you’re fortunate enough to get to choose your project team, what should you consider? Here are a few ideas.
Choose people with the right skills
Let’s face it, if you need a brain surgeon on your team, don’t settle for a cardiologist. Both may be doctors and both may be brilliant but they aren’t exactly interchangeable. Before you start adding new members to your project team, ask yourself what skills your current team is lacking. If you’re just initiating a new project, document all the skills your project team will need to be successful. Your project probably won’t require all the skills at the same time so it’s also good to know when you will need people with each skill. For example, if you’re going to be building the next big online retail website you will need a web designer for the software development phase of the project. Once the website’s built the designer can roll off but you might need somebody with marketing expertise. Knowing which skills you need and when can be a big help in determining who you should bring onto the team at any given point.
Find people who will fit
Good teams gel when people learn how to effectively work with each other. If you’re managing a team that’s all about formal protocol, think twice before you introduce the informal, shoot-from-the-hip guy. He may or may not be what your project team needs. The important thing is to make sure you consider the potential impacts on the team before you bring in a new person. At times you may want somebody to shake the team up or to show them a different way to get things done. Just make sure you’ve thought about it first. If you need a diplomat to work with a difficult client, don’t bring in a person who is technically amazing but always says what’s on their mind.
Get people who are interested
Diversify your project team
Look for growth opportunities
If your project offers a chance for somebody in your organization to grow, consider getting that person involved. If there’s a software developer who’s been aching to get more involved in database administration and your team needs a developer to work closely with the DBA, it might be a perfect fit. When the opportunity is there to help somebody grow and expand their skill set they will usually jump at the chance to get involved. By keeping these opportunities in mind you will help crosstrain people within your organization and it will be appreciated. People given a chance to prove themselves will work hard to be successful. Your organization will also benefit by having a more diverse set of skills within its ranks.
The next time you have a chance to select, or even influence the selection of, members of your team, make sure you carefully consider your options. The right team of people can do amazing things in the same situations where a poorly assembled team may struggle. Look for people who will fit into the team and the environment. Consider opportunities for people to grown and keep your team diverse.