The key management skills required for any Team Manager are: Motivation, focus on goals, mediating between the people above and the people below, making decisions, allocating scarce resources, dealing with emerging issues and monitoring and controlling adherence. A team becomes successful only if it meets certain good characteristics such as competence, clear and compelling goal, commitment to the common goal, environment within which everyone contributes and everyone benefits, supportive environment, and alignment of project goals with organizational goals.
Classes of Conflicts in a Project
The main classes of conflict in a project are: team structure problems, interpersonal problems, productivity problems and schedule problems. Here are a few potential blocks one must encounter while managing a team during a project and how to tackle them.
1. Team member decides to Quit
Possible cause: Didn’t get along with teammates.
Potential impact: Slight if quickly backfilled, crisis otherwise.
Recommended action: cross-train team, recruit higher level skills, have backups for key positions.
2. Conflict within the Team
Possible cause: Different working styles and areas of expertise, people not prepared for team based work.
Potential impact: Progress, commitment to goals, and team cohesiveness will suffer.
Recommended action: Focus on goals & solutions, build commitment to goals, break up cliques, counsel or remove agitators.
3. Poor quality work / Productivity
Possible cause: Quality standards not understood and inadequate skills.
Potential impact: Project failure to meet expectations, costly and time consuming rework.
Recommended action: Recruiting, training, and communicate quality expectations from the beginning.
4. Burnout / Productivity
Possible cause: Over commitment of resources, insufficient variety in job, poor communication of importance of tasks.
Potential impact: Schedule delays, poor quality work, poor morale.
Recommended action: Review resource scheduling, build variety & learning into job assignments, communicate task importance.
5. Tasks Falling Behind Schedule
Possible cause: Task duration miscalculation, unknown reasons for delays.
Potential impact:Will continue to get worse, putting the project further behind.
Recommended action: Revisit the planning miscalculation and readjust if possible, create a solution, implement and monitor, seek the cause by working with those closest to the problem.
6. Lack of Skills / missing skills / Team Structure
Possible Cause: Certain skills overlooked during planning, need for new skills discovered, organization was not prepared to take on the project.
Potential impact: The project will not move forward as fast as it should or it might stall.
Recommended action: Have team member trained in the needed skills, hire outside consultants or contractors who have the skill.
7. Inflexible Team Members / Interpersonal
Possible cause: People think that their way is the only way to operate, anxiety over trying new approaches.
Potential impact:Progress slowed or blocked.
Recommended action: Indicate your expectation of flexibility at the very beginning, work one-on-one to reduce anxiety over using new approaches, look for flexibility when recruiting members.
8. Time is Wasted on Wrong Tasks
Possible cause: Poor time management, people are not prioritizing tasks, weak management.
Potential impact:Tasks on the critical path will suffer.
Recommended Actions: Manager should make priorities clear.