Project individuals vs Project team

A project team needs to be a group of individuals all striving for the same outcome. Let’s look at the difference of people that work as individuals on a project versus those that are really working as part of the team.

Project Individuals

I love to watch a project happening where there are lots of individuals all doing their own thing.

To me, it looks like chaos.  There are people who are very busy, attending meetings, doing, doing, and doing some more, but what is really being achieved.

These individuals all have skills – But, are they the right skills to manage project delivery?

These individuals are also very capable of producing outputs – But, are they producing the right material? And, in the right time frames? Is what they are producing of real value to the project and the agreed scope and to meet the outcomes?

Individuals are focused on their own piece of the project puzzle without necessarily considering the implications, or cross value in working as part of the total project picture.

I see having individuals who are very committed and driven to deliver an asset to any project.  What is of more value though is if those individuals work as part of a project team.

Project team

If there is structure around the way that people operate in order to deliver for the project there are a great list of benefits:

  • there is accountability for every ones actions via the Project or Program Manager
  • it is clear to see what has been done and what still needs to be done in the overall picture of the project requirements
  • communication outward to business stakeholders is coordinated and clear
  • decisions are made centrally via a Project Control Board or at least an Executive Sponsor and so not determine by people who do not have the required knowledge or accountability to be making the right decision based on business needs
  • there is less likelihood of duplication or on the flip side, things being missed because items are more likely to be fully tracked
  • Risks and issue can be properly tracked and mitigated rather than not captured at all

Projects work far better if all of the individuals involved in delivering it are working from the same page.  It is therefore important to corral the work of individuals into an organised team so that the delivered outcome fits with the broader project mandate.

By doing this you create:

1. efficiencies of effort

2. a clearer and more succinct picture for your business stakeholders

3. cost savings

4. full traceability of any actions taken

5. tracking of benefits in an organised manner

How do you do this

Firstly it is about creating some structure around the project or program of work itself.  There needs to be a picture created that shows ALL of the work that is needed and will be carried on, so that everyone is aware of all of the pieces need to achieve the outcomes.

Secondly there needs to be clear communication set up for all of the team, so that when decisions are made, everyone is aware of them and can then understand the impacts on their piece of the project.

Thirdly people need to communicate and be willing to share information.  This is very important, because if they become part of the team but are still operating as individuals, then you have problems.

Fourthly you must have capable reporting in place and ensure that people (the individuals) are held accountable for what they are doing.  You must ensure that there is visibility of what is occurring in each of the different areas being worked on.



Written by Karen Munro