Project Management

PMs and Their Teams: Temporary or Permanent?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

One of the core elements of agile is the concept of stable teams. Individuals come together to work on a project, but when that project is complete, they remain together and move on to the next initiative. The idea is that the individuals learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are able to become productive more quickly because there is less need for the team to develop and people to figure out their roles.

It works, and it’s something that is becoming more common as agile teams—especially in the software development arena—move more to a product-based model. I still think there are benefits to introducing new people to teams in order to keep ideas fresh and prevent teams from becoming stagnated, but I recognize that it’s a balance that needs to be found between stability and those fresh ideas.

Stable teams have historically been less common in traditional project delivery environments, although it’s not uncommon for a few team members to be part of a number of different projects. Often these individuals are performing related roles where the benefits of familiarity and understanding are more obvious (examples might include a project manager and business analyst or marketing and sales specialists).

However, in recent years I’ve seen an increase in the use of stable teams in traditionally delivered projects, perhaps as a …

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"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."

- George Bernard Shaw