factors that influence project team performance
Project team performance is influenced by four main factors – work design, composition, context, and process. Work design characteristics include autonomy, skill variety, task identity, and task significance. Composition factors may include ability, personality, roles and diversity, size, flexibility, and preference to team work. Contextual factors take into account adequate resources, leadership, climate of trust, and performance evaluation and rewards. Finally, process factors that influence team performance consist of common purpose and goals, confidence, and low to moderate conflict levels (Fuller, 2008, p.81).
Work design that allows autonomy or self management of team members, increases effectiveness by instilling a sense of ownership. Skill variety enhances team confidence by exposing team members to various tasks while alleviating the boredom of repetitive tasks. Task identity and significance ensure that the team is working together to complete the distinct pieces and is aware of the importance of the work product as a whole.
The most important factors in team composition are arguably personality and team size. A smaller team size generally prevents coordination and communication problems. Personality issues can be resolved by understanding various personality types and ensuring that a well-balanced blend is implemented. Research reveals that a team with diverse abilities from different backgrounds can increase performance especially when sharing knowledge. (Higgs, 1993, p. 828)
Contextual factors such as adequate resources are of paramount significance in assuring success. Lack of budget, manpower, or training can lead to a defeatist attitude by team members. Trust must be established and maintained to allow for maximized cooperation. Performing regular evaluations and providing incentives for outstanding performance helps to retain talent and increase morale. Focused leadership provides clarity of roles, responsibilities, and schedule.
Confidence is a process factor that instills belief in the team and its capabilities. Teams with low to moderate levels of conflict can eliminate the discord that can make a work environment caustic. In addition, sharing a common purpose and goals ensures that the team moves forward in synch.
Understanding the factors that affect project team performance allows for maximum effectiveness and quality products.
Fuller, M. A., Valacich, J. S., & George, J. F. (2008). Information systems project management: A process and team approach (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ : Pearson Prentice Hall.
Higgs, A. C (1993). Relations between work group characteristics and effectiveness: Implications for designing effective work groups. Personnel Psychology