How to Build an Effective Project Team

As a project manager, it is often our responsibility to define the team members who will execute the project. However, it is always our responsibility to manage an effective and successful project team.  There are some ground rules to follow to ensure you can deliver on that responsibility:

Choose the Right Team

You should first define what skill set you require for the project. The most obvious question is “Does the person have the experience and knowledge to conduct the required tasks within the project?”

However, other characteristics to consider are: 1) Team player?  2) Good communication skills? 3) Ability to handle challenges?  4) Good track record of delivering on time?

Weigh your resources against your needs. Do you have the right people assigned to the right roles to ensure a successful outcome?   A critical component to all projects is the ability to work on a team.  Projects involve multiple team members and ensuring that they will get along with the other team members and work collaboratively is vital.

Set the Ground Rules

Schedule a kick-off meeting and define the roles and responsibilities, as well as, set your expectations for the project.  Discuss how the team will work together, how often you will meet and define the expected communications process.

If there is a large group, define the chain of command where necessary including the project sponsor, stakeholders and individual team members. Ensure that everyone is clear about what their role in the project is and their responsibilities.

Review Project Scope and Goals

Review the business need for the project in addition to the individual goals. This will allow those with a more technical perspective to see the larger picture and those from the business side to see the complexities involved in the execution. Reinforce that there are many facets to the projects and while individuals will deal with their own successes and challenges, the objectives of the project need to be met. The team should understand that they are working together to ensure a successful project.

Boost Morale

Cohesive teams are most successful when they feel that they are part of the team and that their contributions are critical to the overall success of the project. Ensure that their accomplishments and successes are recognized in a team setting. If there seems to be any conflict or concerns, meet with the team member and listen.  Ask them to share what they feel is going well along with where they feel improvements need to be made. You may not be able to resolve all issues they are dealing with, but you can empathize and work together to develop a solution that will make the team member feel like an integral part of the team.


This is a critical factor in any project.  When you are setting your expectations for the team, you should also ensure that they know what your contribution will be. Schedule daily stand up meetings to make sure everything is on track. It also provides an opportunity for team members to relay any difficulties they are facing or if they need assistance.  This will also give you the fortuity to identify any major roadblocks or scheduling impacts. This meeting should be a platform for the team to collaborate and promote conversations that may not have happened.

While there are many ways to develop a cohesive team, these basics will ensure that your project gets off to the right start!

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”  – Andrew Carnegie