Building an Innovative Project Team
The techniques on how to build and manage innovative project teams in an organization revolve around the desire to achieve certain objectives. This requires a project team manager to develop strategies on how to navigate between existing structures that ensure effective team management. As much as organizations would hire employees as a way of boosting their workforce through project team managers, the structuring of project teams is an effective way through which the company would ensure the success of the team (Lewis 1998, p. 78). The main objective of this report is to provide a critical analysis on the best ways to build and manage project teams. This will be facilitated with an extensive literature review, conducting case studies, and providing recommendations on how an organization can ensure effective delivery of successful innovation.
Overview of an innovative project team
The development and management of an innovative project team is dependent on, among other factors, the choice of an effective and intuitive team leader. The team leader has numerous responsibilities that must be in agreement with the organization’s goals and objectives (Boddy 2002, p. 14). The consideration of these aspects will determine the ability of the project team leader to not only envision the members of the team but also the responsibilities of these members. An innovative project team must be that which is manageable in terms of its size and the abilities of the selected members (Boddy 2002, p. 18). This is largely dependent on the duration and mandate of the projects. An analysis of these factors will help the management in determining the type of skills that are considered necessary for the success of the project (Mann 2005, p. 78).
Size of the team
A small project team is considered better at innovation than a larger project team. This is associated with the assumption that it is relatively easier for members of the team to know and understand the skills, strengths, and weaknesses of different members of the team in a small team (Boddy 2002, p. 18). This will not only enhance the ability of these members to operate from the perspective of a team but also develop a common strategy towards challenging situation in the process of implementing the project (Furr 2009, p. 46). Smaller project teams can easily be engaged in a process of self-organization and this facilitates the process of recognizing the effects of project mistakes and work towards finding lasting solutions (Burke & Steve 2014, p. 27).
Availability of resources
For a project team to achieve its objective of realizing the development and implementation innovative policies and propositions, it would be important for such a team to operate on enhanced information and communication technology (Cornick et al 1999, p. 88). Through such an enhanced platform, it will be easier to not only share information between project team members but also retrieve information from platforms (Athens 2010, p. 121). The internet for instance provides information on the performance of similar projects and the techniques that are being implemented including the challenges that such projects are facing (Cornick et al 1999, p. 90). Enhanced information and communication technology also provides the team with a platform through which they can receive feedback on their projects. Through these feedbacks, it is possible for the organization to engage these members in a brainstorming session considering their levels of expertise and experience in project management and implementation (Burke & Steve 2014, p. 23).
Level of skills and expertise
One of the most essential assets to ensure successful development and management of an innovative project team is the ability of the management to identify team members who are self-sufficient. High levels of dependency often slow town project initialization and implementation process hence affecting the momentum of learning and progress (Burke & Steve 2014, p. 33). It is therefore important to select project teams with all the competencies necessary in the realization of the project’s outcome. This is considered a technique through which innovative project teams are relieved from the constraint that impedes the success of traditional project teams (Boddy 2002, p. 104).
A self-sufficient project team may denote numerous meanings in terms of the initiatives of a project. However, at the core of the team there should be representatives from different areas of expertise such as engineering, design and product development (Burke & Steve 2014, p. 40). Despite the presence of these representatives, it is possible for a project to interface with additional systems that may require some insight from areas other than the core. It will be important for the team through the management to add this requirement while maintaining the core attributes of the team (Williams 2002, p. 45). In most cases, a small innovative project team employs the expertise of individuals from different fields of expertise. This is often based on the assumption that the greater the level of competencies of the members of a project team the higher the more self –sufficient that team will be (Leifer 2000, p. 56).
Level of commitment
The process of developing an innovative project team requires that the selection process be based on among other factors the level of dedication of the probable team members. This can only be gauged by conducting an assessment on past project and how the probable members have been able to handle their responsibilities in an effective and efficient manner (Burke & Steve 2014, p. 45). It is only by selecting designers and engineers that are dedicated to the realization of the goals of one team that innovative solutions and propositions can be realized. Dedication to a single project at a time will not only enhance the ability of the team members to improve on time management, it will also facilitate the production of well thought out ideas for the success of the project (Cornick et al 1999, p. 101). Devotion to a project does not correlate with enslaving a project team member to a single project but it involves the process of assessing the levels of committeemen of different persons who form the project team (Burke & Steve 2014, p. 49). This will also help in gauging their attitudes, which in turn facilitates the possibility of reflecting on the possible success of the project (Eardley 2011, p. 35).
Project team members are the most essential stakeholders in the implementation process this means that their involvement at every stage of any project is crucial in the ability of an innovative team to develop a sense of ownership towards the project (Cornick et al 1999, p. 101). A consultative decision making process for instance will invite brainstorming initiatives from the members. It will also provide a platform for addressing various project and team related challenges (Graham 2004, p. 34). The use of brainstorming as a technique of addressing challenges and developing innovative solutions is facilitated by the ability of the project team to think based on their experiences in the project implementation process (Burke & Steve 2014, p. 56). Through an all-inclusive decision making process the management of the team will ensure the development of teamwork, which is considerd as a crucial value in the building, and management of any project team (Uher 2003, p. 173). Through teamwork, interpersonal relationships and communication strategies will be aimed at solidifying the existing bond and improving on the different areas that are perceived as setbacks in project implementation (Cornick et al 1999, p. 108).
Cultural and communication differences
Cultural differences often generate communication challenges due to differences in the socialization processes. The process of developing an innovative project team would require that it be composed of individuals drawn from diverse backgrounds. In addition, it is would be important for such a team to include members and experts from the target population. This will help the team in ensuring that the design and implementation of their strategic plans and projects are based on a proper understanding of the prevailing cultural and communication practices (Binder 2007, p. 2).
The innovative nature of any project team will only be understood through the development of a succinct conceptual model. Being an illustrative and visual material, a conceptual model will assist the project team in understanding term project context in a clear and concise way (Burke & Steve 2014, p. 88). A conceptual model while acting as a communication tool for the project team, it will illustrate the logical flow of influence, which will allow the team to perceive the possible effects of their current and potential strategy in relation to the objectives of the project (Cornick et al 1999, p. 109).
The following is a conceptual model that provides an understanding of the relationship between different aspect that are definitive of a project and that are essential for the understanding of an innovative project team.
Figure 1.0 Generic Conceptual model
A project aimed at the techniques of how Majid al Futtaim can realize its objectives in establishing a new city center mall in Kazakhstan. It would be important for the team to understand among other factors the cultural practices, and the techniques of communication that are available in the country. The success of the innovative team would require a team leader to build a project team that is small and easy to manage. Despite this characteristic, it was important for the team to also comprise of experts from different areas such as engineering, project management, marketing, experts in sales, monitoring, evaluation and procurement. This was because such a team would not only help in the development of a conceptual model but also in the implementation of the project objectives. The project was aimed at the improving sustainability of the company (Majid Al Futtaim Group 2013, p. 20).
The conceptual model in this project was aimed at providing a visual format of the situation analysis. Through this format, it was possible for the management to develop a project team based on an understanding of the project target, areas of strength and areas of weaknesses. Through this identification process, the management would have the opportunity of understanding the best strategies that could be used in ensuring the development of possible an innovative team.
The study sampled 20 participants through simple random sampling. These were derived from employees of Majid al Futtaim in an attempt to understand the perspectives of the employees on how to build and manage an innovative project team.
Data was collected through questionnaires and focus group discussions considering that the study was aimed at conducting a qualitative and quantitative research. The questionnaires were used to acquire firsthand information on the type of project team that could help in motivating the company to realize its objectives. Focus group discussions were used to generate personal feelings and emotions concerning how the company builds and manages its project teams.
Data analysis and interpretation
Data was collected based on the size of the team, composition in terms of experts, level of experience, skills necessary, level of commitment.
Size of the team
|1-10 members||11-20 members||20-30 members||40+ members|
Level of skills
|More than 5 skills||Moe than 3 skills||Two skills||A single skill|
Level of experience
|1 year||2 years||3 years||4 years and above|
Level of commitment
|Working on 5 projects||Working on 4 projects||Working on 2 projects||Working on a single project|
Form the data collected majority of those interviewed preferred a relatively smaller group compared to larger groups. Smaller groups would play the role of enhancing and improving on the time used in the decision making process. About 40% and 30% of the respondent argued in favor of such groups due to the ease of management and formation. In addition, it would be easier to engage such individuals in a brainstorming session especially when it involves marketing and the expansion of existing outlets.
About 80% of those interviewed argued that multi-skilled individuals would be beneficial to a project team. This was based on the assumption that such individual would multi-task especially when deliberating upon issues that require experts from different fields. Multi-skilled individual could engage in a system that could ensure an easy integration with members of the Kazakhstan society.
In terms of the levels of experience, 40% of those interviewed preferred individual with four years of experience in their specific fields while 40% of those interviewed preferred individual with 3 years of experience to comprise members of the project team. High levels of experience were preferred, as it would help in the development of workable strategies based on an understanding of the challenges and opportunities available in the markets.
About 50% of those interviewed preferred individuals who were working on a single project 30% preferred those in two projects while 19% preferred those in four projects. It was only 1% of those interviewed that preferred individuals working on five projects. While gauging on the level of dedication of innovative project team members, the results of the study were based on an understanding that the number of projects that a project team member could handle at a specific time could help in understanding their level of commitment toward the activities of a specific project team. Those involved in more than one project would dedicated less of their time in a single project considering the need to slot some time for the other projects.
A small team of about 10- 20 member, with high levels of experience, numerous skills and working on single project were considerd as the most qualified to handle matters related to the expansion of the company markets
Specialization and division of labor within an innovative project team can be essential in deliberating upon the objectives and threats related to the project. It will be important for the Majid al Futtaim enterprise to ensure that individuals who are outstanding in their areas of expertise fill in the posts in the project team. The projects that define Majid al Futtaim must be channeled towards exploring the Kazakhstan market and identifying the best location within the city center to establish a shopping mall. This will not only ensure dedication towards the project but also provide sufficient time in identifying the factors related to the strategic plan of the business.
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