The Right Way To Manage Project Team!

Manage Project Team processManaging your project team is essentially all about problem solving, motivating and encouraging them to do their job better.

Many of the conflicts on the team could be detrimental to project success, and some techniques in this project management activity can help project managers to handle conflicts in the project.

What do I need?

Human resource management plan

For every project there needs to be a human resource management plan. We’ve seen this project management activity in this lesson, here. Human resource management plan talks about methodology and policies to be used for acquiring and managing project team, in addition to the project organizational structure, roles and responsibilities of team members and staffing management plan, including ramp-up and ramp-down of team based on project needs.

Project team member assignments document

It is a document that shows which team member is assigned to which project / task, whether part time or full time, their duration of availability on the project, their competencies and so on.

Performance assessments

This is typically done by project management team, and these assessments are necessary to ensure that team is doing its work well, and to identify any brewing issues and find their root causes (such as communication, improperly assigned work, excess workload on key members, and so on).

Log of all issues identified on the team

Issue log lists all issues coming up on the project, their criticality, level of expertise required for fix, person responsible, and any other information you may want to keep about issues. This log ensures that no issues are lost due to oversight or other reasons. This list helps even identify who should attack an issue based on her expertise and experience along with required skill set.

Reports showing project performance

These reports show how project is doing against the plan (or forecasts, once they are in place). These come from Monitor and Control Project Work process and control processes such as cost, scope and schedule. These form basis for future team composition changes, determining rewards and recognition and adjusting team ramp-up and ramp-down plans.

You would also need all policies and templates related to educating and appreciating team members for their hard work, such as certificates of appreciation, bonus structures, intranets, corporate apparel.

How do I manage the team?

Observing team member at work and having conversations

This is the most frequently used and common method employed to understand how team members are working together and achieving project goals. Interpersonal, competency related, or requirements related issues are discovered during simple conversations with team members.

Team outings, informal lunches, coffee machine conversations, stopping-by-the-desk talks, formal feedback sessions, skip-level meetings, one-on-ones, team presentations, progress check sessions – all make for great occasions to understand how the team is doing.

Performance appraisals

This is a more formal interaction with team members, to evaluate their performance on specific, predetermined and published characteristics specific to their jobs. This will also be the discussion where roles and responsibilities are clarified, constructive feedback is given, and their goals and aspirations are discussed.

As a project manager you will find it beneficial to try and create opportunities for people to meet their career goals. For instance, if your top senior engineer wants to be an architect, it helps to pair him with the architect on the team – both of them might be benefited with this arrangement.

The frequency and nature of appraisal discussion (formal/informal/semi-formal) is decided by the organization’s human resource policies, labor contract requirements, and even nature of work schedule. If it is a remote team (or virtual team) there might be more frequent appraisal discussions to make for loss of information that could have been gained by casual conversations at work place.

Management conflicts

Conflict management is an interesting and important tool, it involves doing things to decrease negative aspects of conflicts and increase positive aspects, and find resolutions agreeable to all the parties involved in the conflict. Conflict management itself is an important topic for a lesson.

Click here to read all about conflict management.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills such as leadership and influencing are necessary aspects of managing project team. Previous lesson talked about 11 critical interpersonal skills required for a project manager.

Click here to read about complete list of these skills required for a project manager.

What are the outcomes?

Change requests

Impact on schedule or costs due to employee attrition issues (bad performance or otherwise), may result in change requests. The changes to these baselines are to be done via Change Control management project management activity.

Changes to project management plan and documents

Change could be recommended to staffing management plan, human resource management plan or any other subsidiary plans based on what happens during managing the team. Also, documents such as issue log, project staff assignments and role description of profiles, or even to appraisal process (based on the feedback given to HR) can be updated/changed. Further to this, templates, policies, methodologies suggested by the organization may get updated as part of this project management activity.


Managing project team is probably one of the most challenging aspects of project management. This skill alone can determine the difference between a novice project manager and a seasoned one. If you have mastered this skill, congratulations, you are a much sought-after project manager!

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