In this world, there are no two people who are exactly the same. Every single person has their own way of thinking and acting. It is this very diversity that allows society to evolve. What would the world be like if we all thought and acted the same way? Our brains tend to use the same patterns, which causes us to surround ourselves with people most like ourselves reducing our field of vision.
It is important to keep this in mind when it comes to project and team management. In a team of expert programmers, no one will be able satisfactorily make progress.
Therefore a team that is formed with complementary profiles in which the strengths of some compensate for the weaknesses of others will facilitate good project management and will increase successful outcomes.
As such, the diversity of a team should incorporate distinct personalities, abilities and work styles. A team of only introverted people may have difficulties finding a leader, while one full of ‘experts’ may cause unnecessary power struggles. If the team members come with varied abilities, you will have the most flexibility when it comes to programme management and task assignment. Different working styles will also improve the overall productivity of the team.
What are the advantages of a diverse team?
- Better decisions: There are various ways to tackle a problem. Diversity of opinions will offer a higher number of solutions where we will find more pros and cons and will make the most assertive decisions.
- More creativity: If we want to create a website, do we prefer a team made up of a programmer and a designer, or just two programmers? Having multiple points of view and various professional profiles increases the chance of developing more creative and innovative solutions.
- Adapt to the environment: Can we develop a product at an international level if everyone on the team is the same? How are we going to treat with clients of various different cultures if we are not accustomed to the various ways of interacting with each other within the team?
- Identify the risks: If the entire team thinks the same way, we’ll always reach the same conclusions about risks. We will identify a much higher number of risks if we have greater diversity.
Either way, it is not sufficient to create a diverse project team. The team manager should maintain and promote diversity throughout the process of working on the project, encouraging everyone to give their points of view, regardless of what they are. We should create a work environment in which every person feels like a part of the team, where diversity is a positive thing and where the team members feel confident. They should not be afraid of rejection or of expressing their personal vision. This is not always easy because the benefits are seen more long term. Additionally, not everyone is accustomed to or is willing to work with colleagues of such distinct profiles. The change should start with the project manager.