I've worked on a number of great project teams. And I've noticed five key factors that led to us working well together--and to successful project completion.
1. Communication Tools
Good communication is a team commitment. We used tools that worked for everyone on the team. For quick communication and reports, we relied on e-mail, but chose personal visits, phone conversations or conference calls when immediate responses or further clarity was required. And for document exchange, storage and update tracking, we turned to a shared web-based tool.
2. Role Clarity
Teams work best when everyone can just work on what they know, rather than trying to figure out what they're supposed to do, and whether or not someone is covering other parts of the project. Clarifying roles in the beginning of the project helps teams steer clear of conflicts. Making sure team members focus on their specific work definitely helps keep the focus on project deliverables with a higher rate of success in the end.
No matter how odd we may feel about something that someone says or does, we have to keep our cool. It allows us to focus on the solution rather than the problem. Handling matters professionally doesn't mean teams are perfectly aligned at all times or that a team member can't make a comment about someone being late on delivering a task. But what helps teams stay together and focused on the prize is the ability to evaluate a situation and correct whatever requires correction--whether it's a communication breakdown, badly handled process or missed deliverable.
When appropriate, joking around and bonding outside of work can help team members get to know each other and break the barriers to communication and collaboration.
5. Authenticity and Integrity
Although two items, they work hand in hand. And they are the basis for trust on a team.
Integrity includes: keeping your word, committing only to work that you are qualified or can complete in time, keeping private discussions private, sticking to the confidentiality clauses and believing in team members.
Being authentic to yourself and others is paramount. It also means keeping others accountable for the work they do, raising concerns, and listening to the input of others.
What are some of the keys to great project teams you have seen?