As a project management professional for 20 years, I've managed IT projects in a variety of industries and regions, including North America, Latin America and Europe. Most of the projects were regional or global, and the project teams included members from different nationalities, cultures and generations.
Although complexity was a common denominator in these projects, it wasn't because of technology. It was because the people had what I call the "multi" factor: multinational, multicultural or multigenerational project teams.
The "multi" factor plays an important role in projects, and project managers must be prepared to address team issues related to this phenomenon. I hope to do that here, starting with multigenerational teams.
The multigenerational work force has created what I call the "21st Century Organizational Ecosystem." Many organizations may find themselves dealing with generational clashes between a 60-something program manager, a 40-something project manager, a 30-something project team leader and a 20-something project team member. This could just be one facet of this ecosystem.
Project managers should understand the generational gaps in their project teams at the outset of a project. Identifying those gaps at the beginning enables the project manager to discern the preferred communication methods, interpretation of hierarchy and authority, as well as the perception of personal and work time.
Leading a multigenerational project team can be like riding a roller coaster or a day at the beach. It depends on how quickly project managers can enhance their multigenerational behaviors and values to creating the synergy required to have a successful project team.
How have you experienced the multigenerational factor in project teams? How has working with different generations affected your projects?
See more posts about teams.