Search This Blog

Friday, June 3, 2011

Maximize the Success of Your Project and Cross-functional Teams

While standing in line at the local Starbucks the other day, I was in the all too familiar and unlucky position of standing behind a couple of bright-eyed neophytes with their noses pressed into a detailed list that read like War and Peace.  You know the types I'm talking about!  I overheard them saying the order was for their team.  It then dawned on me that more thought likely went into creating the list for the local coffee run than in bringing the team itself together.  I've seen this common mistake time and time again where very little thought goes into bringing organizational talent together to manage a highly strategic business project. 

Over the years, I have had significant experience with project work involving cross-functional teams.  Talent is brought together from across the organization to play a critical role on projects of strategic business importance.  Too often, however, little to no attention is paid to the dynamics of the team and how this can impact on productivity and team success. 

In my experience, effective project leaders typically do the following in order to maximize project and cross-functional teams success:
  1. Talent: they have a clear and unbiased view of who their top talent is across each function within their organization.
  2. Scope: they clearly define the key deliverables, timelines/milestones and success measures associated with the project while ensuring they have been vetted and validated with all key stakeholders.
  3. Champion: they ensure there is overt support for the project and its team across all levels of the organization and they also remove any potential roadblocks the team may encounter.
  4. Communication: they typically take the approach of utilizing many mediums to over communicate their key messages to all affected parties.
  5. Resources: they assemble all required resources (e.g., internal talent, external consultants, equipment, etc.) to ensure the project's success.
  6. Recognition: they make sure that celebrations for achieving key milestones are planned along with additional team/individual recognition events.
  7. Debrief/Post Mortem: they ensure that time is allotted for the completion and documentation of project debriefing session(s) that include the identification of key successes and key learnings/failures.
Most project leaders fall short in effectively planning for the integration of team members so as to maximize their full potential and reduce the amount of potential conflict that arises when groups of talented professionals get placed together on a project team, particularly where they have little or no previous working relationships together.

My proposed solution is to "access style preferences"  This approach enables team members to have visibility and an understanding of their own and fellow team members' style preferences relating to how they gather information, make decisions and interact with others.   Ultimately, this will enable teams to maximize their effectiveness. 

The tool of choice with over 2 million assessments administered last year alone is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) psychometric assessment. This assessment can be facilitated in a supportive, expedient and cost-effective manner by a certified practitioner.  MBTI has proven to be extremely effective in supporting individual and team dynamics, as well as providing a platform for life long learning, personal growth and development.

If you or your organization is interested in learning more about the variety of applications of the MBTI tool or would like to schedule an individual or team assessment, please contact Neale Harrison of Talent Matters Inc. at

... I finally did get my grande, non-fat, decaf, sugar-free vanilla latte.

No comments:

Post a Comment