Is there one team for a given project?

In the previous post, we talked about Who are the people involved in delivering a project?

In that article, we discussed the various components of the Extended Project Team, Project Team, and Project Management Team. So regardless of what team we are talking about, is there one team for a given project?

What we mean here – on a project life cycle – is the team constant?

The following is part of our upcoming book on CAMMP, and in a specific chapter, we discuss the people aspects.

The project stakeholders

In general, project stakeholders have different involvement or influence on the project and one might groups them into three categories.

  • The project team, those are the people involved in the project,
  • Those stakeholders who have direct influence on the project or are affected directly by the project, and
  • Stakeholders who might be affected, but have no direct impact, on the project.

It is important to realize the differences in these three groups, to manage the relations effectively.

Another possible categorization of stakeholders is relative their positions toward the project, are they supporters or against the project, and their support (or opposition) could be mild or extreme.

Once again, we refer the reader to research other resources to explore this topic further.

Stakeholders across the project stages

Is there one set of stakeholders (and team) on the project from start to finish?

Are the stakeholders the same throughout the project life cycle?

The answers to these questions vary from one project to another and one domain to another.

Since it is not practical to address every type of project here, here is a general view that would be common across projects and domains.

In the bus trip analogy, the focus is on those stakeholders who are involved with the project. Although there are other stakeholders, it is not practical to include them in this discussion since how they are affected is highly sensitive to the project domain.

The bus trip analogy

A good way to explain the key roles on the project is to imagine a bus, with the stakeholders on the bus taking a trip, the trip representing the project.

The driver of the bus might not be the ultimate decision maker but let us agree that whoever is driving the bus has full authority, or at least the necessary powers to make some decisions.

Please join us on this trip!

  • A project starts with an idea, there must be an idea originator.
  • The idea originator proposes the idea to management. If management accepts the idea, management appoints a sponsor. In other words, if management accepts the idea, the organization hires a bus and puts the sponsor behind the wheel.
  • It would be good to have the project manager on the bus, or at least a representative of project management. Remember, CAMMP™ advocates that a project manager must lead the Discovery Phase; the ‘pre-project’ work.
  • At the starting point, there is the sponsor, the project manager, and possibly the idea originator.
  • The sponsor will start to invite people on the bus.
  • The focus of the first stage (feasibility) is to validate the idea; i.e. perform a feasibility study, and for this effort, the sponsor invites the feasibility team to get on the bus.
  • The driver is still the sponsor, with the support of the project manager. Alternatively, the project manager could be driving with the sponsor supervising.
  • If the idea is feasible and management authorizes the project, the sponsor will hand over the wheel, i.e. control, to the project manager.
  • The sponsor provides the project manager with the instructions on where to go and what to achieve.
  • The sponsor and project manager also agree on the mandatory stops along this journey (the stage gates).
  • The sponsor must stay on the bus, but the feasibility team gets off the bus although some could continue but in new roles.
  • The project manager starts to take on other passengers, the project management team. This team will help manage the development of the project. The first activity is to plan the stage and decide on the other resources needed for development of the work (the execution team).
  • Since this is likely to be a long trip, the project manager needs to stop every once in a while, for refueling, to conference with the sponsor, or even to ask for direction from people along the way (representing stakeholders who are not on the bus). During these stops, some people may get off the bus, and others may board.
  • The project manager will stay in the driver’s seat throughout the project development and most of the Delivery Phase, i.e. for the implementation and close out.
  • During implementation, the sponsor may form another team in the back of the bus to start learning about the project destination. This team also plans what to do on arrival. The sponsor will appoint a leader for this team; let us call him Operation Representative, or Operational Readiness Manager.
  • Once implementation is complete, the Operation Representative takes over driving the bus.
  • At this time, most of the project management team’s members leave the bus, but the project manager (or another team lead), and a few others may assemble at the back of the bus, to provide the necessary support when required.
  • While the Operation Representative and his team are working on moving the bus to the final destination, the project manager and her team work on closing the project, discussing lessons learned, and gathering their maps, as a way of reflecting the potential changes that took place along the way.
  • Once the bus is fully at the location and the end users are happy, the project manager will complete the project closure and depart the bus.
  • Trip Accomplished!

The project team

In earlier chapters, the project team topic came up. As it is time to close this chapter, it would be useful to revisit this topic for a refresher on the membership of the project team.

The project team consists of the project manager, project management team, and technical/functional team. The extended team will also include the operational readiness personnel.

The project management team might be limited to the project manager only, in very small and simple projects. However, the project management team often consists of the project manager and various other resources who would help the project manager manage the project. These would include cost estimators and control personnel, planners and schedulers, site and project engineers, quality and procurement specialists, among others.

On the other hands, the technical team is not a consistent team, and its membership can change from one stage to another; bus story. For some projects, outsourcing agencies could provide many of these team members. Further, the types of positions vary greatly based on the project types. For example, in web design projects, the need is for web developers (programmers), graphic designer, copywriters, marketing specialists, online security experts, among others. Facilities projects require engineering and construction people in all disciplines.

It is vital to distinguish between the two types since each group has its role on a project.

 

 

Click on the book title to pre-order our upcoming book on CAMMP, Project Management beyond Waterfall and Agile.