Being on a project team can be one of the best—or worst—parts of your job. If your team doesn’t work well together, especially on a particularly complicated project with a tight timeline or less-than-realistic constraints, it can feel like you’re headed into a viper’s nest every morning. But when you’re a member of a successful project team, you more often than not look forward to coming to work.
So… are you part of a successful project team? Here are three ways to know:
1) The word “teamwork” is taken seriously.
Everyone is working together toward a common goal, and team members trust each other. There’s no infighting, finger pointing, backstabbing or undermining, because communication is open and honest. No one takes credit for another’s work, or does anything to make anyone else’s job harder. You all own your mistakes instead of dumping them in someone else’s lap, and stand up for each other when the going gets tough. In short, you know your teammates have your back.
2) The goals, direction and purpose are clear.
The leader of a successful project team maps out the intended goal, explains how each project and associated task fits into the client or organization’s big picture, and makes sure you know your role in achieving the objective. No one on the team is in any doubt about what their purpose is, at either a macro or micro level. You as a team member always know what you’re responsible and accountable for, and any concerns or questions you may have are swiftly and thoroughly addressed by the project manager (who may not have all the answers, but knows who does).
3) The main objective is always results.
There may be bumps along the way and some processes/rules may have to be bent or eliminated altogether. Problems are confronted and solved, and lessons are learned—the same mistake doesn’t happen twice. A successful project team does what it takes to get results, and that means perfecting the process until it comes naturally to do things right the first time.
Your team’s chemistry may come naturally, or it can be strengthened over time as everyone gets to know each other and settles into a rhythm. When everything falls into place as it should, you have a well-oiled machine that functions smoothly and efficiently. The most important thing is that all team members have a common purpose: getting things done.
Everyone being on the same page is crucial to both leading and being a member of a successful project team. Learn how to work together effectively, using AMA's seminars and resources.