Saturday, April 26, 2014

Organizing the Project Team


Congratulations! You have a project team. Now what do you do?  

As a Project Manager (PM), you are tasked with being the leader of the project. Once you are assigned as the PM, you are now the mini-COO of that specific project. All eyes, especially those of senior management, will be on you.  So the first order of business once the project and project team has been assigned, is to organize the team. Now in my last blog post “How does a PM define Responsibilities” posted on March 23, 2014 (http://blog.bennythepm.com/2014/03/how-does-pm-define-responsibility.html)  I stated that the PM has to assign responsibility and keep the team members focused on their specific responsibilities. The PM must also organize the team and keep them organized so that the project goals are attained. That is not as easy as it sounds for many reasons. However, the goals of the project must be the goals of the project team and it is up to the PM to make sure that the goals are being met. 

Once the team is assigned, the PM begins the organization 

The first thing the PM must do is meet with the project sponsor to ensure the project goals are understood. Then the PM schedules the first project team meeting, and along with the project sponsor, the PM should begin organizing the team and their respective tasks. For example, just because the PM should be the “guardian” of the project repository, does not mean that the PM is the only person who makes updates to that repository. Assigning responsibility does not end with assigning tasks. Individuals should take turns being the “scribe” and someone should be assigned the keeper of the repository, with another team member as the close second (possibly the PM taking either role).  

As the PM bears the greatest responsibility for the delivery of the project, the PM should also bear the greatest authority. That does not mean autocratic authority, but it does mean that the final decision should be the PM's and the project sponsor's. 

Besides organizing the team, the PM should organize the project

As I indicated above, the PM should begin by organizing the project with the communication plan, the roles and responsibilities, and the status meetings. The PM should schedule one-on-one meetings with the individual project team members if necessary.  The PM should also schedule the delivery of the status report to the project sponsor and management and be the representative to the change control board (for any changes, if necessary). Now, the PM is not the sole voice of the project, so the PM must be able to organize the necessary team members if they are needed at the change control meetings, or if necessary, with management. Probably the hardest organizing task for the PM will be keeping the project sponsor up to date and informed of project issues. This task may be difficult because of the project sponsor’s schedule, as the project sponsor may be a senior manager and not have as much flexibility as the rest of the team.

It’s all about delivery

In the end, it is about delivery. Even if there are changes that go before the change board, the PM must be able to deliver and defend any changes. If the project team can deliver on the project, then the PM will be viewed as a successful PM that can deliver projects. But don’t forget the value of the project. In my blog http://blog.bennythepm.com/2012/09/the-value-of-delivered-project.html I comment that the value must be communicated as soon as the project starts and continuously until the project ends. The delivery of the project depends on the strategic value of the project and the alignment of the project to the organization's strategic goals. 

Even when the project is delivered, the value must be communicated to senior management and why the project was so very important to the organization in the first place.

I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine. You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.