Tips for building effective teams

How to build effective Project Teams

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In a previous article, we spoke about how to build effective teams and that was related to functional teams (see definition below.) However, agencies are project-based businesses, so this article takes the topic further to talk about what it you need to build effective project teams.

Whether you are leading a project team or working as part of one, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what makes an effective team. An effective team is a group of individuals who can work together towards a common goal. The key to building an effective team is to understand the different roles that team members play and how to best utilize everyone’s strengths.

There are four main roles team members can play

Project Team Leader

The leader is responsible for setting the direction for the team and ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Facilitator

The facilitator helps the team to stay organized and on track. They may also be responsible for mediating disagreements and ensuring that everyone has a chance to voice their opinion.

Contributor

Contributors are responsible for doing the work of the team. They may be experts in their field or simply have the skills necessary to get the job done.

Supporter

Supporters provide emotional and moral support for the team. They may not be directly involved in the work of the team, but they play an important role in keeping everyone motivated and focused.

The most effective project teams are those that have a clear understanding of each team member’s role and how to best utilize their strengths.

There are several different types of teams, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Most common types of teams

Types of teams

Functional teams:

These teams are divided by function, such as marketing, accounting, or engineering. They typically have a clear division of labor, and each member specializes in a certain area. This type of team is efficient when it comes to completing tasks, but it can be less effective when it comes to creativity and innovation.

Project teams:

These teams are temporary, brought together specifically to complete a certain task or project. They are often more flexible than functional teams and can be more effective when it comes to creativity and innovation. However, they can also be less efficient when it comes to completing tasks. Does that sound familiar?

Factors to consider when putting together a team

Each type of team has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your agency’s specific needs. When you’re putting together a team, there are several factors to consider. We are listing these because we find that a lot of agencies create functional teams (creatives, planners, client service, etc) when it is not appropriate for them to do so:

The type of work

Is the team working on a short-term project or a long-term goal? Are they working on something that requires creativity or something that is more task-oriented?

The team's goals

What are the team’s goals? Are they working toward a specific outcome? Is the scope of work clearly defined or are they working towards a common business goal?

The team members

Who will be on the team? Are their roles specified in a contract or statement of work (SOW)? Are members with specific skills required? Do they have complementary skills? It’s important to consider these factors when choosing a team structure, as it will impact the team’s ability to work together effectively.

The resources

What resources does the team have available to them? Do they have access to the latest technology? What budget are they working to?

How to build an effective team?

Now that you know the different types of teams and how to choose the right one for your needs, it’s time to start building your team. There are several things you need to do to build an effective team.

Choose the right project team members:

The first step is to choose the right team members based on the brief. As mentioned before, it’s important to choose people with complementary skills and as agreed in the scope. Then you can start assigning roles and responsibilities (using a proper resource management tool, of course 😊)

Communicate the scope of work:

Make sure everyone is on the same page by sharing the brief and the agreed client order. This sounds obvious but it ensures that everyone knows what the scope of work is so can refer any out-of-scope work requests back to the project manager. This avoids scope creep and overservicing.

Establish guidelines:

It’s important to establish some ground rules for how the team will work together. What is the team’s communication style? What is the decision-making process? How will conflicts be resolved? Establishing these guidelines will help the team work together more effectively. Better still, these guidelines will have already been set by your PMO.

Set up a meeting schedule

Once you have the team in place, it’s important to set up a meeting schedule. This is a perfect way to monitor and control your project will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the team is making progress. 

Evaluate regularly

Finally, it’s important to evaluate the team regularly- ideally at the end of every project as part of the quality control process.

This list is not exhaustive but will help your agency go a long way toward building effective teams for its client projects.

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