Selecting a perfect team for a project is perhaps the most critical juncture of any project. In this article, I will discuss the nuances that I as a project manager would look at while selecting a project team.
Horses for Courses
Preparation for a project starts with the weapons you want to carry onto the battlefield. You will need weapons that fit the spectrum of your project.
You need intelligence to give you the advantage before setting foot, ballistics for quick wins, short swords to avoid risks and sniper rifles for forecasting budgets.
If you go with a huge fleet of Abrams, the rug would be pulled even before the tanker wheels could enter the battleground.
The objective is to win the battle and not carry an inventory of best weapons.
The plan is to choose horses for courses. The best movie does not often win Oscars, the ones with a little bit of everything does.
In a project setting, you need people who can be leveraged for the particular project, play their part in their respective roles and keep the ball rolling.
Get the Smart Ones
A project manager who I am acquainted with tells me that he hires people who are smarter than him and in his team, he prefers to have the best of the lot. I agree with the former but have my doubts on the latter.
I have my reservations in getting the best talent in the industry in a project team.
Fit People for the Roles they Play
There are different roles to be played in any project.
You would need people who can plan the project until the end, anticipate risks and think out of the box to add the cherry on the top.
And, you need people who wear blinders and are focused on what they do. These people may not necessarily be the best in the industry but are indeed the best in the given circumstances.
Next up are social skills. If you heading endurance projects, the weight on the slender shoulders could become overbearing.
To ease the tension, you need people who can lighten the mood and bring in an atmosphere that not only bonds the team but brings the aloof lot into the fold.
Most Important – Communication
When I choose project members, I pick the ones with good written and verbal communication skills ahead of others, even if it means sacrificing slight technical competencies.
Communication for me is paramount. In the digital age where all team members may not be co-located, or share the culture nor the language, it is imperative that the communication channel is error free. Any white noise or distortion will put the project in the catch-up mode.
Get people who can put down their thoughts clearly, be it on email or on a telephone call.
Co-Locate if Possible
If you can put your entire project in one location, on one floor, do it. In my experience, co-located teams perform better.
There are a number of barriers that could give rise to inefficiencies while working from remote locations.
I can perhaps write a dissertation on the reasons teams can come up for missing milestones, deliverables, meetings, and commitments. It takes a very smart manager to manage remote teams and to bring everyone up to speed.
If you can avoid multiple locations, do it by all means.
In today’s world, it may not be a practical approach considering cost benefits by pushing work to third world countries and finding specific talent in certain geographies. If you can overcome these constraints and put your team under a single roof, your project has a better chance to succeed.