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The project management perspective

This report defines the value of teamwork from the project management perspective, focusing mostly onto events as projects. Therefore, it suggests the link between teamwork strategies/approaches and effectiveness within the events management industry. It also illustrates the empirical elements of the concepts by exemplifying using personal experience and reflections, followed by suggestions for improvement. Chapter one presents different definitions of teamwork, compares and contrasts them, in order to highlight the interpretable character of the concept.

Also, it presents the importance of teamwork and Chapter two analysis the project management perspectives and the overall management approach taken by the group. Chapter two introduces some of the most well-known elements and strategies of effective team work such as key team roles, role balance and co-operation. it highlights the most significant characteristics of effectiveness and how these can be meet with insights into personal experience.

Chapter three describes the actual working and results of the activity and the barriers encountered by organisers during the planning process. A reflection on personal and overall learning experience follows as well as recommendations on how the obstacles could have been exceeded. I: Introduction Human beings have worked in teams for 200,000 years. From childhood games and sports, to organisations

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and institutions, teamwork has been proven to be indispensable and utterly important, with a direct impact on the success of any organisation.

Particularly, in the past 200 years there has been developed a complex understanding of the teamwork principles in practice, with new perspectives that reveal its complexity. Guidance on how teamwork can be effectively developed in modern organisations has been offered by different authors, whom’s suggestions will be further discussed in the next chapters, followed by a reflective insight in the author’s personal experience. Interestingly enough, it seems reflection represents the most comprehensive tool for learning and self-development.

Issues such as conflict resolution, trust and cooperation, task conflict, problem solving, the cognition of the team, team processes such as decision making, the distribution of effort and reward, team learning, creativity and innovation, the use and abuse of power, will be raised and discussed as well as an overall assessment of the team and individual performance, starting from an objective level to a more subjective one.

A team is “a group of people who share common objectives and need to work together to achieve them” (Woodcock, 1989:3). According to Hackman(1990:4), the group members are “dependent upon one another for some shared purpose, and they invariably develop specialised roles within the group as the purpose is pursued”. Management teams provide the leadership of organisations by planning operations and adopting strategies, allocating resources, and managing different functions. They set detailed objectives, co-ordinate and control the work of others.

However, teams are primarily formed to “ accomplish more than they(the members) could alone”, creating a synergy and leading to an accomplishment greater “than the sum of its individual members”(Woodcock, 1989:8). Yet “frequently groups of people are seen to achieve less than could have been accomplished by the individual members working alone”(Woodcock, 1989:8). Therefore, the existence and success of any team depends upon the way in which the team members “play” together (Woodcock, 1898:8). I. 2. Introducing the Team

The project team has been named Vision Corp Industries as a result of a team brainstorming session on what would be an appropriate professional name that would define our goals, vision and mission as well as the sector we activate in. The team members are Hannah, Louis, Habiba, Katie, Angel and Smaranda. II. Project Management Perspectives According to Bladen et al. (2012), the overall perspective should be carefully considered when attempting to manage a project. Kolltveit et al. (2007) has discussed six major project management perspectives, as follows:

The task perspective focusses on realistic and tangible matters such as time, budget and limited resources. The leadership perspective depends upon leadership and communication styles, decision-making and team characteristics, clear allocation of functions and responsibilities of the team members and considerations of review and feedback. The stakeholder perspective focusses on the identification of the stakeholders, their needs and requirements.

Therefore is “heavily used in the events management industry” (Bladen et al., 2012:27). The transaction-cost perspective focusses on the governance of the project and the structure of the costs, with reliance upon innovation and contracts. The system perspective views a project as an overall holistic system, and not as individual, functional components. This approach is common with technological innovations and business start-ups. The business-by-project perspective refers to individual investments and relies upon portfolio management and investment methods.

Kolltveit et al.(2007) has found in his research that, generally, in the project management field the most adopted perspectives are the task and leadership perspective. However, Bladen et al. (2012) suggests that the perspectives adopted by event managers are mainly the project task and stakeholder perspective. II. 1. Adopted Perspective and Approach The approach adopted by the team was the task perspective, the focus being concentrated on the delivery of the event within the budget and on time. It was mandatory for the event to meet the criteria specified beforehand and to achieve measurable success.

During the planning stage the event team has focused mainly on the event concept, operations and logistics, proving commendable attention to detail. Clear targets have been set and measurable results have been achieved. There have been high level of supervision during the evolutionary stages of the project. III. The Stages of Team Development Tuckman (1965) suggests there are five stages of team development: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Implementation, Outcomes and Challenges Encountered In the forming stage the team experienced considerable anxiety and concern with regards to the team role distribution.

At this stage, the team goals were clearly stated and agreed, and team members were introduced to each other. In the storming phase conflicts emerged between different members due to the choice of authority. Hidden tensions started to appear. However, due to the shared commitment to the team goals, trust was built, and team roles were finally defined. During the norming, the conflicts were resolved and the team started to cooperate effectively. Strategies and plans were made and standards were established. Mutual support emerged and team members started communicating their views more freely.

Agreed rules were established such as punctuality, attendance to the meetings, respect and constant communication. Successful outcomes began to be visible during the performance stage. At this stage the members start working together more flexibly and regular reviews were conducted in order to ensure team effectiveness. The last stage experienced was the adjourning, when the team dissolved. This was mostly due to the end of the task. Fortunately, due to positive experience and relationships between individuals, the team members are likely to reform the group if given another task.

Through positivity and efficient teamwork, the team has completed its tasks successfully. It is important to acknowledge, analyse and reflect on the experience itself, on the challenges and obstacles encountered and the measures taken to overcome them. IV. Teamwork and Effectiveness In order to achieve an acceptable level of performance, a group must exert sufficient effort to accomplish the task, bring adequate skills and knowledge to complete the task work and employ appropriate task performance strategies.

These three hurdles are referred by Hackman(1990) as the process criteria of effectiveness, and they should be consulted when formatting or evaluating a group to diagnose the problems or difficulties that may appear. Similarly, Mayor (2010:248-249) identified eight elements which are required by effective project teams: clear goals, competent team members, a result-driven structure, unified commitment, standards of excellence, a collaborative climate, external support and recognition and effective leadership.

When addressing the overall theme of cooperation and conflict West (2005) argues that conflict resolution is crucial for teamwork effectiveness, since how the conflict is managed contributes to teamwork productivity and cooperation or its dissolution. However, constructive conflict resolution seems to be strongly influenced by matters such as trust and achievement. Individuals tend to define themselves, in part, by their membership in the group (physiological identification).

This process is enabled by the individuals’ trust in their team and it is vital to cooperation. Furthermore, cooperation is influenced by the attachment style which refers to the feeling of security within the group. However, West (2005) offers distinctive insights on how conflicts can be managed within the teams and strongly reject the idea that they are always destructive and harmful. The team mental models and schemas are discussed by West (2005) in relation to what constitutes effective teamwork and the team members’ viewpoints and expertise.

He underlines that the more accurate and congruent these are around the team, the lower the level on inter-personal conflict. He defines the concept of team mental model as a commonly agreed shared view team members have of the task given and the processes necessary to achieve it. He suggests that in order for a team to develop a mental model, common focus, support for diversity, clearly defined roles, resolving conflict effectively, feedback and successful time management nut be accomplished.

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