Managing Project Teams Essay

Pages: 10 (3105 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

¶ … consonance with the learning outcomes and sub-outcomes stated in the syllabus in terms of working with others, teamwork, groups and group dynamics. Also, the essay will describe the nature of groups and group behavior within organizations and investigate the factors that lead to effective teamwork and the influences that threaten success. In the essay, we will also identify the most appropriate organizational structure, roles and responsibilities of participants in a project and plan and specify the human resources and requirements for that project.

First, we need to define a project is and the requisite stages necessary to make it happen and to be a success. A clear and an accurate definition of a project is important to a project's success. Certainly, any project needs to know what its mission is and where it is supposed to go and how success is measured. The definition of a project constitutes a process of selection as well as the reduction of ideas and perspectives of the involved into a set of clearly defined objectives, key success criteria and evaluated risks ("Project definition," 2011).Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Managing Project Teams Assignment

In this process, before any definition is issued, the first step is to define the scope of the project. Then, secondly, the stakeholders and sponsors need to be defined. Then, the project management document constitutes the third stage in the project process. Project management involves a definition process which needs to culminate in the production of a project definition document (or known as a project charter). This document or charter needs to be issued and approved by a project manager who has been given the resources and authority to pursue the project. Certainly, the seniority of a manager or management team will be reflected directly in the cost, size and monetary of the value. At a minimum, a project definition will include a state of the business need (mission of the project) and the description of the product, service or other business objectives that will be the output. Once the document is issued, the fourth stage constitutes the acquisition of requisite permits and other related documents. This is especially critical in an international project (ibid.).

In the case study, at FEL, in addition to the project manager, there are a number of other key personnel including:

1) a design engineer

2) an operations manager that oversees fabrication and on-site assembly a cost accountant that oversees project financial and cost reporting issues.

In this context, we need to examine the responsibilities of a project manager. Most of all, he or she is responsible to make sure that the project document is carried out according to plan. A chief problem is finding the appropriate personal to fill the positions. Once this is done, a project manager has some unique challenges. Unlike a department head, many times a project manager has no real power or authority (Heerkens, 2007, 4-5). This then implies a possibly humbling, yet critical part of the equation which is that friendships, associations and relationships are still necessary. In other words, one can not simply "pull rank" and expect everyone to salute smartly and comply in military fashion (ibid., 6).

Therefore, networking and placing trusted persons in the jobs in the project is very important. Essentially, the execution of the project is more a cooperative than a command procedure. This type of loose project management structure is what is in place at Franklin Equipment Ltd. (FEL) and it is necessary to understand this to comprehend the advantages and disadvantages the company has with regard to the management of its projects. The personnel criteria that FEL has to assign managers to project teams based upon expertise and their availability to work on a particular project depending upon their other commitments. This usually means that managers that do not have heavy current project commitments will find themselves assigned to a new project. The manager has little or no say in this. The networking ability is precisely the reason that Gatenby was assigned as the project manager on the Abu Dhabi project. He possessed preexisting positive working connections with stakeholders in the Abu Dhabi customer. Additionally he has successfully managed other projects previously and will bring these people from previous projects before (Larson, 2010, 4).

The advantage is obvious. If you bring the old knowledge, then a lot of experience is centered in the project. However, on the downside, it there is bad blood so to speak between two individuals such as Rankins and Perry could imperil a project. For example, if the doomsday cynicism of Bruder the accountant seeps out to the rest of the team or the client, this would be disastrous. Also, the disadvantage of the "old boy" network is evident when Bruder will not give up critical information to Jobe, the new project facilitator who is supposed to make everything work despite bad blood and potential financial problems. Gatenby offered nothing else but just told Jobe to "get it done." However Jobe is assured by Gatenby that formal goal setting between project managers and functional managers are set down at the beginning of the project. Perry and Rankins have explicit goals and have been told that they must work and cooperate with each other. If they do not meet the goals after two months, they FEL will fire Rankins. Jobe let Gatenby know that Perry knows this. The disadvantage is obvious. If a manager is fired from a project, this could have repercussions with the client and with project morale. This is especially important to avoid on such projects in international areas because in the age of globalization, one must have access to the global market to succeed as a company ibid., 5-6).

Conflict Management

While Gatenby told Jobe to "get it done," this is certainly not a tenable long-term position for an overall project manager. As mentioned above, project definition documents needed for government permits (especially environmental ones) usually list the project managers as stakeholders. Firing someone could affect the permits needed to see the project through to its completion. Rather, Gattenby needs to give him full authority to use his facilitating skills in conflict management to make sure that little tiffs do not become major brawls. This is especially critical, because as documented in Harold Kerzner's book on project management, as a manager's real power decreases, so does the potential for conflict increase. Also, the greater the amount of ambiguity between roles, the greater the potential for conflict. The greater the agreement on goals between project members, the less the chance is for conflict. Unfortunately, Kerzner notes that a low percentage of interpendence between subordinates on a project not only increases the chance for conflict, but even more, the conflict is of a dysfunctional nature (Kerzner, 2009, 49).

To avoid conflicts, management should develop effective ways to manage and the situation. While projects may differ, especially in a larger company, Kerzner advises having uniform policies on conflict resolution (ibid., 50). In this way, a problem can be brought to a project manager's attention immediately. If there is a standard set of policies, a manager can then effectively stop most work-related problems before they even get really started.

Standard policies have many advantages. The perception of order is contagious. If management is well organized and there is a very stable head the problems will be dealt with successfully. These company wide policies and procedures can then be institutionalized in the project document. Communication is a very important factor a breakdown in communication can cause many problems in the work place. Since Jobe's power as a facilitator is limited, this must be kept in perspective. There is research available that indicates that the top cause of low morale and conflict at work concerns the way that people communicate with each other. Such communication was particularly critical regarding the different way that managers communicate with their subordinates. Interpersonal communication remains the most important skill set for people to have to succeed at work and in life as well. It is not possible for communication to improve without first understand that communication has to be direct (ibid.).

The power of the company and the team need to be celebrated. Retreats and outdoor office trips are the perfect get away from the regular hush of the office (ibid.). As this author has heard, this can be done effectively away from an office environment in way of an office retreat or training session at a special place. This would give the employees great opportunities to bond and renew strong relationships that will tap into the strengths of the project group.

This is what Kerzner calls hierarchical referrals and it works well because noe of the managers dominate the conflict. Rather, someone like Carl Jobe who officiates in the role of mediator. All the managers make sure that the project team subordinates recognize the role of the mediator. The end result of such a powerful program of communication and education is not just a better protection system for an organization and a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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