The development and completion of a major InfoTech project is a team building exercise. It requires different members of the organization to come together to resolve a problem or to plan for another objective.
Whereas some organizations can see this as an unwelcome intrusion into the normal working day, the project manager has a role to play to get people to buy into the IT project and use their collegiate working protocols to ensure that all the targets are met.
Some approaches take the view that team building exercises have to be independently planned and implemented to ensure consistency and monitoring. However team building at its best is derived from the willingness of colleagues to resolve a problem by using their different skills and experiences.
The first task is always to make people feel valued. A person will never be able to fully participate in any team work unless they feel that they are genuinely valued and that their contribution makes a significant difference to the outcome of that task. When project managing IT projects, there is often a tendency to invite external consultants who will not know a lot about the employees they are expected to work with.
Apart from the normal introductions and the basic orientation, they will move straight to the work. Some of their tasks may involve asking people questions which can be intimidating. Sometimes they will also ask people to change the way that they are working and this can increase the level of resentment across the board.
The frustrations of trying to get people to buy into the project will further increase its lifespan thus creating a culture of skepticism and disbelief. Where managers are not directly involved in the implementation of the project the consultants will struggle to get any cooperation and will often make mistakes.
How then can team work develop from such a scenario ? The first challenge is always to ensure that different workers are given the opportunity to take ownership of the project by contributing to the key performance indicators and also marking the milestones of each piece of work.
It is not enough to be aware what you need from a member of a team, you also need to understand that they will have their own view about the value of their work and how it can be progressed. Personalities are the drivers of any team building exercise. Therefore it is advisable to only select people who are able to work within a team. This is more difficult than it actually sounds. No matter how well trained or skilled an IT technician is, if they cannot effectively communicate with the people in the organization, then all their work will be lost.
Business IT projects should be seen as an opportune moment to foster joint partnerships between different employees and different departments. Once ownership is established it is then much easier for people to buy into the project and contribute ideas. Managers who implement new business IT projects are then tasked with valuing each person’s contribution.