The Importance of Team development and communication in project management
Project management refers to the process of planning, organizing, and managing resources with the aim of ensuring successful completion of certain objectives and goals of a project. The term ‘project’ refers to a certain undertaking which has a specific start and completion time duration. Armstrong (Armstrong, 2006) states that project management involves the creation of a unique service or product that results to added value and beneficial change. In project management, the primary challenge is how to achieve all the objectives and goals of a project within the set time, scope and budget.
These are referred to as projects constraints. Another challenge in project management is how to optimize the integration as well as the allocation of inputs that are vital in meeting the set objectives of a project. The several approaches that can be used in project management include the incremental, agile, and interactive approaches. In project management, there is need for one to give careful consideration to the goals and objectives of the project. In addition, of great importance are the consideration of the responsibilities and the roles of stakeholders and participants in managing a project.
The different phases of a project management include initiation, planning and design, executing, monitoring
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In this paper, the importance of team development and communication for effective project management will be discussed. Discussion A team is a term that is used to refer to a group of two or more people who work together. Each individual in the team is allowed to express his or her own opinion and views which should be directed towards the efficiency and unity of the group in achieving a project’s goals and objectives. According to Burns (Burns, 1978), all members of a team must work together if the teamwork has to succeed. This demands that all individuals should be team players.
A team player works together with the other members of a team in coordination. In order to have people in a team work together when managing a project, team development is crucial. Furthermore, communication between individuals within a team promotes the success of project management. Importance of team-development in project management Team development in project management involves clarifying to all the team members the goals of a project. This should be followed by the process of building the ownership of the project to the team members.
It is important to develop teams or teamwork in project management because it ensures that all members of the team realize and clearly understand the goals and the objectives of a project before embarking on the process of achieving them. Ferell et al(Ferrell and Nessa,2006) points out that teamwork in the contemporary has continued to become an important aspect of project management . By clarifying the goals of a project to all the members of a team during project management, it becomes easy for the team members to direct all their efforts to the achievement of the projects’ goals.
Because focus is given on the goals, project management becomes a very successful process. The projects goals are supposed to be specific, measurable attainable, realistic and timely. Team development ensures that all these aspects of a projects’ goal are well known to the team members. Through team development, the specific reasons, benefits, and purpose of accomplishing certain goals in a project are provided to the team members. Team members are made aware of the expected progress of the project at a particular time or phase during project management.
By clarifying to the team members the goals of a project through team development, the members can participate in identifying the attitudes, skills, abilities and financial capacity that is required from them in order to meet the goals of a project. The clarification of projects’ goals through team development enables those who are in charge of coordinating the process of project management to increase the willingness and the ability of the team members to work effectively.
For instance, a team member in a team that is involved in branding and marketing a certain form of service works towards the achievement of successful branding and marketing of a service when the goals of the project are made clear to her or him. This is because, all efforts are directed towards achieving the specific goals of the project. The time limit within which the projects goals have to be met becomes clear to team members during team development. This no doubt increases the probability of a team completing a project within the set time limit.
The completion of a project within the set time frame prevents unnecessary extension of the project beyond the set or required time limit. Team development encourages collective motivation of teams in project management. Gomez-Mejia et al(Gomez-Mejia et al, 2008) holds the opinion that for an organization or company to achieve the goals and objectives of a project, team members are required to work while putting into mind the budget, the scope, and the time frame of the project .
It is therefore very important that all teams and all members of the team who are involved in project management meet the deadlines while utilizing the available resources. This will require a great deal of motivation to the team members. Motivating people in the project increases the level of participation of all the team members. Motivation gives more energy and determination to the team members as they work towards the success of a project. This is very vital for the achievement of all the set goals and objectives of a project.
Although organizations should motivate its employees to work better and efficiently, motivating them through rewards and incentives can be a good way of increasing the success of a project. During team development, all the members of a team are motivated collectively. This means that all members of a team work together as a group, rather than have some individuals motivated to work hard while others are not. Collective motivation makes team members to realize that they have to depend on each other if they are to succeed.
Team work is cultivated when collective motivation results to extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. In intrinsic motivation, every individual is motivated to work hard from within. Extrinsic motivation emanates from the efforts and activities of the other team members. Motivation becomes rewarding in managing a project because it ensures that all team members remain interested in the success of a project. Team development improves the performance of workers in a project because it promotes the self-assessment of the team. This opinion is also supported by Legge (Legge, 2004).
For each team, assessment enables all team members to know their effectiveness in the achievement of a projects’ goals and objectives. As earlier mentioned, all the team member must be able to work together in order to deliver. This demands that all members maximize their potential and ability in efforts towards the success of a project. To gauge how effective individuals in a team or the team itself have been performing in the success of a project, an assessment of the work needs to be carried out. This usually occurs during the monitoring and evaluation processes in project management.
Assessment improves the performance of team members and the team themselves because teams are able to identify what they are doing right or wrong in project management. For those efforts and activities that promote the success of a project, team members are encouraged to get more engaged in them. However, members are discouraged to be engaged in those activities that undermine the success of a project. However, those activities that undermine the success of a project are identified and the best strategies to prevent them from re-occurring again are then into place.
The performance of team members is improved when team development advocates for assessment of the teams work and achievement within a given time frame. Each team is then briefed on its progress towards the achievement of the expected goals. By reviewing what it has achieved or not achieved, a team can be able to improve on its performance since ways through which all members can work in harmony to improve their performance are developed. The team and individuals performance is improved by team development as a result of the assessment that is carried out.
For example, teams are supposed to have regular meetings and forums through which all members participate in pointing out how the team has succeeded or failed to met the set objectives of a project. The team members during the forum can suggest ways through which the team can improve its performance based on the teams past failure and success. Team development empowers all the team members to identify all the inhibitors of team work. After identifying the inhibitors, the next step in team development is to develop a strategy of addressing the inhibitors.
A good strategy of addressing the inhibitors is to identify and devise the most effective ways of overcoming the challenges and removing the inhibitors. Inhibitors of team work minimize the performance of workers, discourage team work, and create great differences between the team members. According to Davis et al (Davis and Andrew, 2001), because all the team members are unique in their own way, differences in opinion and approaches about work are expected. However, these differences should be used to improve the work force and not to undermine the team members’ performance.
Team development discourages negative effect of team members’ uniqueness and differences on the projects success. Instead, team development helps the team members to appreciate each others uniqueness and difference in option. This is then followed by helping them to use their differences and uniqueness to improve their work. For instance, lack of proper communication between team members can undermine how effectively they work with each other. Lack of communication or proper communication may create conflicts and misunderstandings between team members.
This greatly undermines team work and the success of a project. When lack of proper communication is identified as a problem in good team work when managing a project, team leaders are able to assist members to improve on their communication skills and strategies. The team leaders through team development have a great responsibility to address issues that may inhibit team work. Team development ensures that if the inhibitors of team work cannot be removed or overcome, the inhibitors’ negative effects on team work are mitigated.
Mitigation will require all the team members to embrace practices and activities that will counter the negative effects of the hindering factors. For instance, differences in opinion that may hinder team work may arise from the team members different personalities. This may make the differences difficult to overcome quickly. However, the team members should be taught how to accommodate each others opinion and later come up with the best strategy of working. Team development in project management enables teams to identify the teams’ weaknesses and strengths.
Van et al (Van et al, 2007) states that all the members of a team are given an opportunity to give their opinion about what they perceive as the weaknesses and the strengths of the team. The members are also expected to give recommendations on the best way forward in encouraging efforts that strengthen the team. In addition, the team members get an opportunity to give suggestions on how to address issues that result to the weakness of the team. Just like in an organization, this may require all the team members to participate in identifying the teams’ strong and weak points.
Team leaders are expected to assist members to identify their strengths and weaknesses as individuals and how they can affect the performance of a team. The team members then tend to have a sense of ownership of the team. This in turn leads to active participation of the team members in all the activities of the team. Eventually, members can take advantage of their strengths and weaknesses to improve their individual performance as well as the overall performance of the team. For instance, teams through team development can design a SWOT analysis strategy within the team.
A SWOT analysis helps a team to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that a team has as it works towards the success of projects. The weaknesses of the team, and the threats it faces in its work can then be used by the team to develop strategies that will address the threats and weaknesses in future. Consequently, weaknesses are turned into strengths, while threats are turned into opportunities. This no doubt will lead to the success of a project. Social cohesion and good relations between team members are built through team development.
Team work demands that team members make a decision as a team rather than an individual. For organizations, teams are very essential in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization. Organizations experience changes. When changes occur, there is need for the employees to adapt and be flexible to the changes. In order to deal with the changes, all team members should be able to work together by building good relations between each other and this promotes the success of a project. Because team members may come from different functional areas, their perspectives about issues may be different.
Their differences may sometimes cause conflicts between the team members. Developing good relations between team members eliminates negative effects of disagreements or conflicts that may arise from bad relations. Team development is very important in promoting good relations between team members despite their different opinions about issues. Eventually, the success of the project can be guaranteed by continued good relations between team members. Apart from team building, communication is very important also in project management. Importance of communication in project Management
In order for an organization or company to overcome the major challenges in project management . One of the challenges is how to achieve all project objectives and goals within a specific budget, scope, and team. Another challenge is how to optimize the integration and allocation of inputs available to meet the desired objectives. There is need to have good communication between all the participants involved in a project. By definition, communication is a process through which people can assign and convey meaning in an effort to create shared understanding.
Carl et al (Carl and Fritz, 1990) asserts that the communication process requires that a person has a wide range of skills in relation to interpersonal and intrapersonal processing, questioning, listening, observing, evaluating and analyzing. Through communication, cooperation and collaboration can be able to occur. Just like in other areas of management, communication is very fundamental in the management of projects. Research conducted on project management has shown that an estimated seventy four percent of projects fail to achieve the set goals and objectives due to insufficient and poor communication.
Communication during the three phases of project management (initiation, execution, and closedown) plays a very vital role. Project management cannot succeed without good communication. To begin with, communication is important in ensuring that all the project stakeholders are actively involved in the planning and also setting up of the right expectations in the project management. The face to face communication between members of a project team assists the stakeholders to establish and identify factors that will ensure that a project succeeds through effective communication.
Communication in project management plays a very vital role of ensuring that there is timely and appropriate generation and collection of project information. This information forms the basis of successful project management because the goals and objectives of the project are set depending on the available information and facts attained through communication. After generating and collecting information, communication further ensures that there is effective dissemination, storage, as well as appropriate disposition of the project information.
Communication therefore is important in enabling information to be received, processed, and given out in all the project management processes. Any misunderstanding is completely prevented. Since completing a project within the set time limit is a challenge in project management, effective communication overcomes this challenge. Effective communication promotes the undertaking of activities on time because necessary information is always available. Communication allows all the participants in a project to receive and send information effectively through the different forms of communication.
Information during project management can be or passed from one person to another through written, oral, or non-verbal means. For each type of communication, team members can be able to undertake their activities by making use of the information. They get engaged in face to face meetings during the process of project management and make use of oral communication. Oral communication in project management is very advantageous for the speaker or those involved in the communication process.
It gives the speaker great flexibility because he or she is able to communicate with the voice and body language. Because people can be able to communicate using their voices, body language and attitude, misunderstandings are prevented or minimized. People are being able to get and send out the right information. This promotes good relations between employees and it eliminates negative effects of ineffective communication in project management. The passing on of information in a precise manner is possible in project management through written communication.
Written communication when managing a project allows information to be sent through notices, letters, as well as memos. Written communication helps in coordination of all activities that relate to project management, and it becomes very effective when the person conveying the message has great ability to grab peoples’ attention and provide them with a good reason why they need to read about the issue being addressed in written form. In project management, communication allows all the participants to pass information to each other effectively through the different forms of communication.
Good communication prevents misunderstanding that may arise when two people who have different styles of communication work together in project management. Project management involves initiation, planning and design, executing, monitoring
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Because written communication may only offer precise and non-detailed information, a person who may access the written information may fail to clearly understand what is being communicated. If he or she makes wrong assumptions, misunderstanding may result. This will affect the success of the project negatively. To prevent this, good communication should be promoted in project management. Effective and good communication promotes the building of competent project team members, as well as the stakeholders. Team work is very essential for the success of a project.
This has made team building or development vital in project management. Project management where team members are trained to make decisions as a group and not as individuals requires that all team members put into consideration various opinions before making the ultimate decision. This demands that all team members accommodate each others opinion by communicating effectively with each other. This creates an understanding between the team members. When the team members are able to work in harmony due to effective communication, the success of a project is increased.
In resolving conflicts and managing employee behavior, effective communication becomes very essential. Effective team members need to be greatly knowledgeable and possess the right skills. Some of the most important skills in project management are communication skills. A person’s ability to argue persuasively and articulately depends on the type of communication skills he or she has. Lack of proper communication limits the employees’ processing of new information. This no doubt leads to hostile reaction in relation to the other persons’ behavior, intentions, and actions.
When individuals who are involved in project management begin to develop hostility towards each other, their performance and productivity is reduced. This may hinder the success of a project. Furthermore, it can lead to wastage of time as the organizations’ or team leaders allocate a lot of their time in settling hostilities between the employees or solving conflicts that arise from poor communication. Leaders are required to impart knowledge on other workers on the need to communicate well. When individuals acknowledge that they have different views and personalities, they can fully explore their differences through proper communication.
Blending and balancing the different views depends on the ability of a person to understand how, where, and when certain activities can be undertaken successfully. Proper management of employee behavior can be possible if communication is effective. Effective communication solves problems that may arise if poor communication is experienced in project management. Parfitt (Parfitt, 2002) states that communication problems during project management that may arise can be attributed to hidden agendas, power games, information overload, and the biasness towards certain people.
Better communication is achieved when a project manager is able to exercise the overall team building fro the members of a team. Problems that may arise due to poor communication are solved by conducting communication skills training for all individuals involved in project management. By educating individuals on the need to have good communication and how they can promote effective communication in the organization, they can be more willing to participate in solving problems that may result from ineffective communication. Cohesiveness in an organization can be attributed to good communication in all individuals.
This means that during project management, all individuals work together and seek each others’ help in case one needs assistance through good communication. For instance, cohesiveness in an organization can involve the promotion of some basic rules that all individuals should keep in mind. These rules may include, resisting jumping into conclusions, listening to others, and resisting the urge to interrupt others when they try to communicate. Successful communication in project management is witnessed when individuals seek to know more and to ensure that listening to the others becomes a conscious activity.
The different forms of communication that an organization embraces are very vital in meeting the communication needs that may arise during the process of project management. Communication enables an organization to integrate cultural considerations in project management. According to Miner (Miner, 2005), cultural considerations in project management have become very important due to the effects of globalization to the work environment. Cross-cultural communication in project management demands that one be careful on how he or she uses certain phrases and terms around another person who may be from a different culture.
For instance, some terms and phrases that are used by people from the American culture may not be understood by people from other cultures. Therefore, communication that integrates cultural considerations is very essential in ensuring that people from different cultures can work together without the fear of being victimized as a result of communication barriers. In addition, communication puts into consideration cultural nuances. For example, nodding on the head for one cultural group may mean something different for another cultural group.
Communication during project management trains individuals to respect each others’ cultural background. This eliminates problems that may arise from conflicts between people from various cultural backgrounds. Effective communication during every phase of the project cycle ensures smooth coordination between the phases. For instance, detailed project communication planning can be done during the projects’ initial or planning phase. This will involve identifying and determining the communication needs of the stakeholders. Furthermore, communication during this stage is able to determine how information will be given to the people.
For example, when the employees will need the information and who needs what information. Communication planning assists an organization to know which methods of communication are the most suitable during the management of a project. Furthermore, technologies that an organization can use to transfer information among the project entities are identified through effective communication planning. Communication during project management enables an organization to know the constraints that an organization needs to carefully think about. This is possible through a project communication plan.
The plan is able to detail out what type of communication is to take place, at what stage of the project and who is meant to receive the information. For instance, there is need for an organization to communicate effectively with the project sponsors since the sponsors require to be informed about the project. Effective communication will ensure an organization is able to work together with all the stakeholders throughout the process of project management. Conclusion Project management is a very important process in an organization because it determines whether the objectives and goals of a given project are achieved.
Some of the most important factors in project management are team work and effective communication. Ensuring that a team succeeds in working towards the achievement of a project goals and objectives demands team development is undertaken. A team should be comprised of individuals who work together in harmony and support each other to make sure a project succeeds. Improving the performance of the team requires organizations to promote and fully support team development. In addition, effective communication should be promoted since it will compliment team development in the successes of a project.
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