building an effective IT project team

How to Build a World-Class IT Project Team

Real success in any rapidly shifting corporate environment requires learning how to create and lead more effective teams. Particularly, in the business IT world, effective, operational teamwork can truly make or break a company’s ability to stay competitive. 

Forming a world-class team all starts with leadership. These types of successful teams rarely form naturally. Instead, they are built over time through thoughtful management. To attract, retain, and cultivate a world-class project team, IT leaders should focus on the following.

1. Understand your objectives

Your first step should be to understand what services are needed, the level of service you want to provide, and the skills your team will need to have, regardless of the size of the team that will support these objectives. Before diving into what already exists, identify every business tool needed for each department and the organization as a whole.

From there you can better analyze what applications are currently being utilized, if they are serving the needs of the organization, or if new resources or out-sourcing may be needed to meet these objectives.

Once the list of all business requirements and corresponding applications have been identified, you’ll want to evaluate how those resources will be managed. In-house or remote service will be the starting point to evaluate what resources are needed. 

2. Identify and select qualified participants 

As with all teams, you need to understand the role each person will play from the start. Create a detailed job description of the skills needed to execute and manage the environment. Keep in mind, skill is not the only thing you need. In addition, build a weighted system of what you are looking for from the participants.

Additional considerations include experience, how participants present themselves and communicate management capabilities, how they prepared for the meeting, and other character traits as you determine are needed. 

3. Determine the team size 

Team size relates to defining the workload, response time to execute, and budget. Keep in the mind, the number of team members will directly impact the budget and this constraint needs to be factored in.

If you can’t afford the cost then one of the other constraints needs to change, either scope or time. Finding the correct balance will allow you to understand the team size.  

4. Let the team manage themselves

The best teams are the teams that take full responsibility as a single entity. Therefore, team members should work together to volunteer and decide as a team who is best to complete a task. This level of self-management by the team will lead to greater involvement and greater commitment.

The interaction will also create a dynamic that makes each team member feel a responsibility to each other rather than a manager dictating who should do what. A manager’s responsibility is to define the business objective and priorities, not define who and how the work should be done. 

5. Focus on effective team collaboration 

Empower the team to be accountable for their actions and treat individual failure as a team failure. If success is measured by the team’s results instead of individually, it will force the team to work together to help each other.

Regardless of how strong or weak a team member is, creating this level of accountability will ultimately result in the team interacting with each other and all taking equal responsibility for the successes or failures of the project.

In order to achieve this level of productivity, it’s important that management treat the team as one entity, and failures or success are never attributed to a single person. Taking that a step further, it is even better if management doesn’t know who was specifically responsible for the failure other than the team as a whole.

6. Inspire your team

Teams are best inspired by management recognizing their achievements. Teams should be given the opportunity to present their level of progress and effort at a frequent cadence.

The opportunity to do this on a consistent basis will allow the team to demonstrate what they have accomplished and show off what they capable of. This level of recognition is one of the greatest rewards a team can have and will inspire them to work together to do better and achieve even greater results.

7. Reward your team

Reward the team, not individuals. Rewarding individuals can create a dynamic where team members compete with each other, and that will ultimately break down the unity that you should be trying to create. Team members should also be encouraged to recognize each other – in some cases, peer recognition can be more rewarding than feedback from management.

Above all, you must encourage your team members to keep their primary focus on the project and its objectives. Especially in data-driven environments, it is vital to build a sense of inclusiveness by establishing a common purpose and shared goal that ties everyone together. World-class project teams aren’t made overnight, but it’s well worth putting in the time and effort to build one. 

About Kevin Torf

Kevin Torf, co-founder and managing partner of T2 Tech Group, has been a renowned innovator and thought leader in the technology industry for over 35 years, specializing in large-scale IT strategic planning, project design, and implementation. Kevin brings decades of experience in complex application deployment, IT architecture, electrical engineering and data center construction, infrastructure, and consolidation, particularly within the healthcare space.

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