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  • Roles/Positions. What are the likely positions/roles on the team? Are there unique well-defined positions or will team members be performing flexible roles? Relative Importance. If there are defined positions, are some more critical to the team’s success? For example, which position(s) could most influence the success of other positions or the team overall? Which positions are worthy of the most attention during staffing because of their importance? Teamwork vs. Individual Performance. How much is this team’s success based on each team member doing their individual job well versus working together and coordinating with one another effectively? If 50% is an even split, what is the relative importance of individual performance versus teamwork for this team’s success? If team members will be able to work independently to ensure team success, teamwork becomes less important. The more that team members will need to rely on each other to accomplish the team’s goals, the greater the importance of teamwork.
  • It is typically worth the time to explicitly clarify requirements prior to discussing which people should be on the team. That will help ensure that collectively, the team members who are chosen have the capabilities that the team needs. In addition, although it is easier to think about position-specific requirements, teams often struggle because they don’t meet the other requirements (i.e., team-related, team role, or representative requirements), so be sure to consider those as well.Position-specific Requirements. Are there certain requirements (e.g., skills, experiences, capabilities) that a candidate should possess to be eligible or considered capable to perform a position? If so, what are they? For example, perhaps a global project leader should have worked internationally or the finance representative on a team should have a specific set of finance skills.Team-related Requirements. Are there certain skills, experiences, or capabilities that need to be represented somewhere on the team, but not necessarily in any specific position? For example, perhaps the team needs at least two people who speak Spanish, but they can be in any positions on the team. Representative Requirements. Are there any groups, regions, stakeholders, or constituents that should be represented on the team? For example, perhaps there should be at least one person from the Eastern region on the team. Will it be important to have a mix of people with diverse experiences or backgrounds? If so, what would be a desirable mix?Team Role Requirements. What type of teamwork skills or orientation will be needed on this team? For example, will the team need one or more people who: Are strong at maintaining team morale or resolving conflict? Are effective at organizing and providing structure? Will challenge the group or offer creative ideas? Can connect the team with other groups or constituents? Are reliable and can be counted on to get work done?
  • Eligible team members. Who will/should be considered for the team? Has the pool been established already or will you be seeking candidates/nominees? Required team members. Are there any people who must be on the team either in a specific position or somewhere on the team? For example, has anyone already been appointed or is someone already a member of the team?Constraints. Are there any candidates who can’t or shouldn’t be on the team together (e.g., because they can’t work together or because you want to save one of your top two people to be on another team)? Are any of the potential team members “unavailable” (e.g., unwilling, unable, or unavailable to be on the team)?
  • Position readiness. Teamwork issues aside, how ready is each candidate to fulfill the position or role for which they are being considered (i.e., assess their job-related or technical capabilities)? Team attributes. Aside from their individual, position-specific capabilities, how valuable a contributor would each candidate be to the team? What do they bring that will help or hinder the team? For example, would this person be likely to help monitor and build team morale, connect the team with key outsiders, ensure the team is organized, generate new ideas, help resolve conflict, etc.? Is this person a strong “team player” or do they tend to be more individualistic?Consider who could provide the best assessment of potential team members. If this is a very important team or if membership could be controversial, it can be helpful to involve key stakeholders who know the candidates in the team formation process.
  • Preliminary assignments. Considering all the factors above, tentatively assign candidates to fill each position. Where appropriate, identify an alternative candidate or two. Sometimes it will make sense to choose individuals to fill a position on the team although they may not possess the strongest individual position readiness. For example, this may be because it would be a valuable developmental experience for them, because of their likely contributions to the “team” beyond their position-specific skills, or because they help ensure the team has appropriate representation.Requirements. Review the tentative team membership. Would this team meet the basic requirements you established earlier? Does it include all required team members? Are all team-related requirements met (e.g., two people who speak Spanish). Are various regions, groups, etc. adequately represented? If any requirements are not met, is it acceptable to relax those requirements or do you need to change the proposed team composition?Individual readiness. How strong is this team individually at each position? Which positions have the strongest individual contributors and which positions have people who may be less ready? Is there a potential weak position or two? If so, is that acceptable? Overall, is this team strong enough at their individual positions to succeed?Teamwork readiness. Given theproposed composition, how likely is this team to coordinate and collaborate effectively with one another (and how important is that to success)? Do you have any concerns about them as a team? For example, are there enough people on the team who will organize, challenge, maintain morale, be a peacemaker, innovate, make connections, and/or volunteer? Would the team be better if it had a stronger peacemaker, etc.?Overall assessment. Are you satisfied with the proposed composition? What would be this team’s strengths? What concerns do you have? How comfortable are you with the people filling the most important positions on the team? Might the team be better if you switched to an alternative candidate or two?
  • Adjustments. If necessary, consider alternative team members and repeat the prior step. Is an alternative team stronger? What are the trade-offs?Preparation. Once you’ve decided on the team’s membership, consider what can be done to help ensure this team’s success. All teams have strengths and limitations. Establish a plan to mitigate key limitations.


  • 1. Forming TeamsA Critical Stage for Project Managers
    Paul Cruz, JSC
    Kathy Doyle, GSFC
    Clay Yonce, KSC
    PM Challenge
    February 9, 2011
    Used with permission
  • 2. A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
    What is a Team?
  • 3. Team vs. Working Group
    Shared leadership roles
    Individual and mutual accountability
    Specific team purpose that the team itself delivers
    Collective work-products
    Encourages open-ended discussion and active problem-solving meetings
    Measures performance directly by assessing collective work-products
    Discusses, decides and does real work together
    Working Group
    Strong, clearly focused leader
    Individual accountability
    The group’s purpose is the same as the broader organizational mission
    Individual work-products
    Runs efficient meetings
    Measures its effectiveness indirectly by its influence on others (e.g., financial performance of the business)
    Discusses, decides and delegates
  • 4. Stages of Team Development
    Stage 1
  • 5. Forming “Testing”
    Storming “Infighting”
    Norming “Disciplined”
    Performing “Productive”
    Adjourning “Closure”
    Stages of Team Development
  • 6. Forming
    • Purpose and goals for the team are unclear
    • 7. Members feel varying degrees of commitment
    • 8. Members are cautious, don’t initiate and avoid responsibility
    • 9. Communication is low and a few members often dominate
    • 10. Members are dependent on directive leadership
    • Build a common purpose; clearly establish the expectations of the customers or sponsors
    • 11. Understand personal expectations and interests
    • 12. Clarify accountability, recognition and rewards
    • 13. Assess resources - see who has what to contribute
    • 14. Leader provides direction and drives the team process
  • 15. Putting the Right People in the Right Places
  • 16. Get the right people on the bus…
    “Great vision without great people is irrelevant” – Jim Collins
    What will it take to get my project team where it needs to be?
    • “I need a team of people who think like I do”
    • 19. “I need a team of people who will always agree with each other”
    • 20. “I want to make sure I have past experiences with everyone on my team”
    • 21. “I don’t need anyone’s input on membership – I have enough information to make these decisions myself”
  • Describe the team’s structure
    Clarify your requirements
    Establish your candidate pool
    Assess the candidates
    Make tentative assignments
    Review the team’s composition
    Refine membership as needed
    Establishing the Membership of Your Team
  • 22. Roles/Positions
    Relative Importance
    Teamwork vs. Individual Performance
    Team Structure
  • 23. Position-specific requirements
    Team-related requirements
    Representative requirements
    Team role requirements
    Clarify Requirements
  • 24. Eligible team members
    Required team members
    Establish Your Pool
  • 25. Position readiness
    Team attributes
    Assess the Candidates
  • 26. Make Tentative Assignments and Review
    Individual readiness
    Teamwork readiness
    Overall assignment
  • 27. Adjustments
    Refine as Needed
  • 28. First Who, Then What…
  • 29. Visioning & Setting Goals
  • 30. Visioning
    Vision and Mission
    • In order to best identify goals for the team, a leader should have a vision for the team. This vision can be used to establish an official mission statement
    • 31. Consider linkage between:
    Agency Mission
    Center/Program Mission
    Directorate/Branch/Project Mission
    Questions to Ask
    • WHO
    Who does the team ultimately serve?
    Who are our the team’s customers/stakeholders?
    • WHAT
    What is the mission of the team?
    What are the deliverables?
    • HOW
    How do the roles of individual team members contribute to the mission of the project?
  • 32. Mission Statement Development
    Look at the answers to the “who,” the “what” and the “how” in order to develop a mission statement that captures the true spirit of the team
    Solicit input from the team in order to obtain buy-in
    • Establishing buy-in helps to make the mission (and goals) more salient to members of the team
  • Goal Setting
    • Facilitate a shared understanding of what needs to be achieved
    • 33. Establish measures of success
    • 34. Illuminate a path to success
    • 35. Can provide links from individual tasks to larger team goals
    Think SMART
  • 42. Creating Goal Statements
    Start Simple:
    • Examples:
    • 43. We want to meet stakeholder expectations
    • 44. We want to be a better leader
    • 45. We want to reduce errors
    Build on the Simple
    • Example:
    • 46. We want to exceed stakeholder expectations such that we receive
    • 47. zero complaints about the project schedule
    • 48. an average stakeholder satisfaction score of at least 4.5 out of 5.0
  • Solidify and Review SMART Goals
    Solidify with SMART
    • Example:
    • 49. I want to meet stakeholder expectations such that we:
    • 50. receive no more than one complaint about the project schedule
    • 51. over the duration of the project life cycle
    • 52. by carefully managing resources
    Review each Smart Goal with the Team
    • Ask the team if they agree with each goal
    • 53. Keep in mind: some goals may not be as flexible as others
    • 54. Consider how each member of the team will contribute to goal achievement
  • Setting Expectations, Roles and Responsibilities, and Understanding of the Team’s Purpose
  • 55. Setting Expectations If you expect nothing, you’ll get nothing…
    When setting expectations - make sure they are REALISTIC
    Expectations should be
    • connected to the goals and objectives of the team
    • 56. clear and agreed upon
    • 57. developed jointly
    By setting high expectations…
    • the leader plays an important part in helping those they lead to rise to new levels of achievement
  • Roles/Responsibilities
    Define roles of team members necessary to achieve the team’s project/mission
    • Roles are specific contributions expected from each team member to accomplish the mission
    Important to be very clear about team goals and provide clear direction regarding the project/mission
    Work with the team to help establish how they will work together (”team norms”)
    Team Members
    Every team member is assumed to be competent in his/her specific discipline or function - formal role
    Team members may face many new challenges - informal role
    • i.e., coordinator, troubleshooter, trainer, facilitator
    Each team member needs to be honest as well as open
    Encourage a diversity of opinions on all topics
    Everyone given the opportunity for equal participation
    Be open to new approaches as well as listen to new ideas
  • 58. Understanding of the Team’s Purpose
    Forming the team is an important first step and vital to making teams work
    Formation phase sets the stage for all other team activities
    • relationship building
    • 59. project performance
    Team develops the foundation for working together toward a common goal, so it is critical that they
    • Build and maintain effective relationships within the team and external (customers, stakeholders, etc.)
    • 60. Model a common process or methodology as it pertains to problem solving, decision making, etc.
    • 61. Confirm understanding of the shared purpose
    • 62. Understand and manage the expected outcomes
  • Summary
    Forming the team is the critical first-step in team development
    Forming involves:
    • Selecting the right people
    • 63. Establishing a vision
    • 64. Setting goals
    • 65. Setting expectations
    • 66. Discussing roles
    • 67. Understanding purpose
  • Back–up Slide
  • 68.
    • Human Systems Engineering
    • 69. OD is a holistic approach through partnership that develops organizations, teams, and individuals contributing to NASA’s mission success
    • 70. It is the process of working across multiple levels of organizational systems to develop strategy, improve performance, and build effective relationships
    • 71. OD is a collaborative, planned process for guiding an organization from current state to desired future state
    Organization Development