Nobody doubts the importance of the project team but it is not always so easy to identify those of us who can consider ourselves part of the project team. The project team usually consists of a project manager and the team members involved in performing the various tasks during the course of the project life cycle, undertaking a joint effort to achieve objectives whether or not they form part of the project management team.
Team members may possess specific skills or come from various groups, but the work undertaken within the project is a joint effort by the entire project team. The project manager is the team leader, regardless of the authority they have within the project governance model established for the project.
Some of the roles within the project team include:
• Project management personnel: this can be undertaken or supported by a project management office (PMO).
• Project personnel: these people work on creating the project deliverables.
• Support experts: they perform tasks required for developing or implementing the plan for project management. Depending on the complexity of these tasks, they may work full-time or as and when their skills are required.
• Representatives of the user or the client: they may be appointed as representatives or liaison officers to advise on requirements, oversee acceptability and viability of the project results and ensure proper coordination.
• Suppliers: vendors, suppliers or contractors. They provide components or services necessary to the project. They may play a significant role in the project based on their level of commitment to the risk associated with delivery of the results.
• Members from partner companies: to guarantee proper coordination.
• Business partners: an external company but with a special relationship with the company, usually through certification. They usually provide specific experience or skills.
Project team composition: this varies according to the culture of the organization, the scope and the location. Similarly, relations between the project manager and the rest of the team also vary according to the authority of the former over the latter (part-time employee or a team line manager, to provide just two examples).
Although more complex models may exist, the two basic project team focus models are:
• Dedicated: all members or a significant proportion of them work on the project full-time. They might be located in the same place or communicate via virtual channels, but they always report to the project manager. Therefore, this is the simplest configuration for a project manager as the lines of authority are clear and every team member can concentrate on objectives. This model is common in projectized organizations (see entry on organization structures).
• Part-time: if the project is launched as an additional and temporary task. All team members, including the project manager, remain at their own organizations and complete their usual duties. Functional managers maintain control over the rest of the team and the resources assigned to the project. Part-time team members can dedicate themselves to more than one project at a time. This model is common in functional organizations, while matrix organizations may adopt both approaches as required (see entry on organization structures).
These models may exist within any organizational structure. Dedicated project teams are more common within projectized organizations where most of the organization’s resources are focused on projects and where project managers have a high degree of independence and authority. Part-time project teams are common within functional organizations, while matrix organizations use both dedicated and part-time project teams. Members who have limited involvement in various stages of a project can be considered as part-time project team members.