Selecting a Project Team

Selecting a Project Team

The selection of a project team takes place early in the life cycle of a software development project. The selection of team members, the stages of team building that happen, and the way in which the team morphs all support and influence the remainder of the activities in the life cycle. The information presented in this section forms the background required to fully understand how individual personalities influence the ability of a team to create positive synergy.

Various project teams show behavioral characteristics of a single personality. Some are creative, some are apparently dysfunctional, and others exhibit wide mood swings. The appearance of a team's character is based on the dynamics of the team members - the emergent personality critically affects the accomplishment of project objectives. Team members may be added or deleted as the project leader finds out clashes, but such changes come with a price: Any change in membership will need the group to go through team creation stages all over again before the team can perform.

A team personality is complete with spoken and unspoken rules and constantly shifting relationships. As new members join the team and existing ones depart, the character of the team changes. It may also change as the project moves through the phases of its life cycle. A dominant personality (or two) generally appears soon after creation, and the dynamics of the workgroup change over time. As the project progresses through early stages of confusion and later stages of ideal cooperation, the leader must recognize the signs of dysfunctionality and act accordingly to stop the unwelcome transformation. This is no simple task because the human personality is far more difficult than any science or technology rooted in physics. Yet, if left unattended, the negative features of conflicting personalities can wreak havoc on the project and often destroy individual team members.

"Reporting and Communicating", will explain communication aspects of a project team; "Project Tracking and Control", will discuss how to track team progress. Selecting the right team members and properly building the team at the beginning of the project life cycle will facilitate these skills. To understand how to apply leadership to project teams, we'll first look at individual uniqueness, then project team dynamics, and, lastly, particular leadership techniques.


life cycle, software development, project team
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