Lesson Plan 3 Project Team Building

21. March 2017 – 17:06

Connection to the Curriculum:
KPPM = communication, presentation and project management

Time:
1 unit of 50 minutes

Resources required:
Data projector: Content of a project plan
Handout Vocabulary, definitions and descriptions

Overview:
Why is team building important?

Team building is an essential component of project management and should be included in PM-training. Project management is a process of managing people. Project teams are effective because of constructive action and mindsets of team members and leaders.

Use the questions listed below for discussion:
1. What types of participants should be involved?
2. Why should each be involved?
3. What might each contribute to the project? (E.g. information, advice, representation)
4. How might each be involved?

Objectives:

  • Identify the types of participants involved in a project team
  • Understand the reasons why each participant should be involved
  • Appreciate the contribution of the stakeholders to the project? (E.g. information, advice, representation)
  • Develop awareness of intercultural concerns
  • Being able to handle diversity

Suggested procedure

Opening:
Revision: Ask students to write down the answers to the following question on a blank sheet of paper and pass it on to the teacher when finished. Suggested time: 5 minutes.

State four questions a project team has to ask before building a project plan and give examples for the features these questions include.

  • What needs to be done? Objectives, characteristics of expected products, activities and tasks.
  • How long will it take? A schedule.
  • Who will do it? Assignments and responsibilities.
  • How much will it cost? Time, cost and effort required for each task and for the project as a whole: a project budget.

What are the characteristics of effective project teams?

Have students break out into groups of 3 to 5.
Ask each group to discuss the characteristics of a successful work team they have worked on. Ask them to make a list of the five top characteristics they felt created a good, efficient work team.
Have each group report their discussion findings to the class.
If their past experiences with teams were negative ask them what would make these teams more effective.

Record key points on the blackboard.

Activities:

Handout: Characteristics of an Effective Project Team.
Ask students to compare and discuss differences to the list.

Introduce the characteristics of effective project teams:

  • Clear and accepted objectives
  • Good leadership
  • Members have a vested interest in the group mission. They must see a benefit for themselves.
  • Members have time to participate in group meetings and work.
  • Members are able to put in the time and energy necessary for the team to succeed.
  • Members have important information, skills or opinion to contribute.
  • Communication is open and user-friendly. Members express concerns and expectations openly and are listened to by the group.
  • Members are considerate and accepting of each other.
  • Members are sensitive to varying perspectives arising in an inter-disciplinary, multi-organizational, intersectional, open public, cross cultural team.
  • Members seek consensus on group decisions and test ideas to ensure everyone is on-board.
  • Group problems solving based on basic interests, rather than on positions and causes of problems rather than blame.
  • Members volunteer for taking the lead on group tasks.
  • Members are willing to contribute effort to accomplish group goals.

What are the characteristics of effective project team leaders?

Have students break into groups of 3 to 5.
Ask each group to discuss the characteristics of an effective team leader.
Ask them to make a list of the five top characteristics they feel create an effective leader.
Have each group report their discussion to the large group.
Report key points on blackboard.
Introduce the characteristics of effective project team leaders.

Hand out: Key points.

Leaders should

  • Be clear on what their role is
  • Understand and practice a team approach
  • Facilitate open, positive communication
  • Organize project team to do work
  • If possible, ensure right persons are chosen for work assignments (e.g. skills, team player)
  • Coach team members on their roles
  • Encourage team members to take responsibility for tasks
  • Coach, but allow freedom to act
  • Work with team members to address role conflict (e.g. with other job duties)
  • Encourage team work over individual success
  • Confront problems, not people
  • Understand and mitigate conflicts among team members
  • Avoid power politics and turf wars
  • Maintain project control through continuous communication and checklists (e.g. project control charts, budgets)
  • Always keep the objectives and expected results in mind
  • Use people’s time and efforts effectively, and not to waste time.

What are approaches to deal with inter-department difficulties?

Projector

  • Keep external departments informed at all times
  • Involve other departments in developing schedules
  • Maintain continuous contact during project
  • Anticipate problems, e.g. phases that involve larger time commitments of external departments
  • Be flexible. Be prepared to modify the project if necessary, if priorities of team agencies shift
  • Recognize team members have different career tracks, work routines, supervisors and that your project may enhance their job.

Exercise: How can the project team manage diversity?

The goal of this exercise is to raise awareness of how team functioning is affected by the roles and perceptions each member brings to a team. By identifying difficulties and advantages, students will be able to see how their roles can influence project effectiveness. They can develop some methods for addressing future complications both as a chair of a meeting and as a member in support of the chair and the team.

Divide class into two groups and assign each group one of the questions and have them discuss.

Interdisciplinary project team management

  • What difficulties arise because team members come from different disciplines (e.g. engineering, social sciences, business management, biology, government, administration, planning)
  • How can these difficulties be resolved? (List at least three ways!)
  • What advantages does an interdisciplinary project team have?
  • How can these be enhanced? (List at least three ways!)

Cross cultural project team management

What difficulties arise because team members come from different cultures? (e.g. First Nations, Euro-Canadian, Developing Countries)
How can these difficulties be resolved? (List at least three ways!)
What advantages does a cross-cultural project team have?
How can these be enhanced? (List at least three ways!)

Closing:

Have each group present a short summary of their findings to the large group.
Outlook: Project Planning Methods.

Key terms

Interdisciplinary project team management: Team members come from different disciplines: e.g. business management, engineering
Cross-cultural project team management: Team members come from different cultures: e.g. First Nations, Developing Countries

Revision questions:
1. Describe the attributes of an efficient team leader.
2. Explain the advantages of cross cultural project teams.
3. What difficulties arise because team members come from different disciplines?

 

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