Assembling A Project Team : What You Need to Know
MAXIMPACT BLOG November 17, 2016 Maximpact.com
Whether you are a consulting company, an NGO or other business organization, at some point you may be faced with the task of building a project team, or finding consultants for that team.
These days it is a well-known fact that the success of a project depends on it’s team members. Without the right expertise involved and full cooperation of the team, the project could be destined to fail, if it ever begins at all.
Once you’ve been tasked with developing, managing, writing tenders and applying for project proposals, your first step is to find the talent that will represent your team. Here are four questions to consider before you start planning and executing your recruitment strategy.
What Makes a Good Project Team?
No matter how large or small a project is, or what the project’s ultimate goals are, there are certain qualities that make a good team. These qualities may vary project by project. The object is to build a team that is made up of the sum of its parts. No one person has to have every single one of the necessary qualities that make up a good team.
A good project team will:
- Have a clear understanding of the project goals
- Have the right mix of skills and qualified consultants
- Have a clear understanding of the projects deadline
- Have access to the resources necessary to successfully complete the project. For example, human capital or advice from experts whenever needed to move the project forward
- Be able to utilize each member’s skills in pursuit of achieving the projects goal
- Have respect for the project team leader’s abilities and management skills
- Have respect for one another’s ideas and abilities
- Have trust in the team’s ability to achieve the projects goals
- Have motivation to complete the project on time
The Costly and Time Consuming Process of Finding Qualified Project Team Members
Finding qualified consultants and experts for a project team can be a lengthy, costly process and possibly include trial and error. The length of time depends on how specialized the expert’s skills need to be and how many expert profiles are required.
Managing a project team includes making sure you have all the necessary team players and know where to find a replacement quickly whenever the need arises. For smooth project implementation, having all necessary team players, correctly positioned and tasked is assumed. However, equally important is that you know where to find a replacement quickly whenever that is required.
Having access to on-demand advice and a talent pool of qualified experts is vital to successfully manage projects along with their inherent risks.
What Problems May Occur Once the Team is Established?
Since project teams are inherently made up of unpredictable variables called humans, some challenges may be expected along the way. This is where the virtues of a good project manager becomes visible. However, sometimes additional advice also to project management may be required from the final project success. A seasoned project manager will be able to handle these potential problems so that the team stays on the task of completing the project. Here are some common problems that may erupt whenever people get together in a group to work toward a common goal.
- Lack of motivation
- Distraction due to personal problems
- Lack of respect for another team member
- Jealousy of a team member
- Ulterior motives that clash with the project goals
- Distrust of own abilities within the team environment
Another set of problems can appear once the project starts showing how the expertise of certain consultant are not of the level required. Application and recruitment is very competitive process and sometimes is hard to differentiate between candidates who are overstating their real skills and expertise and those who are more modest in CV presentation and more efficient in the project implementation.
That’s why, to build a productive project team that is ultimately successful in its goal, the project manager should:
- Be skilled to boost motivation, manage conflicts and subtle interpersonal relations among team members.
- But also to choose experts from reliable sources which will help him in expert verification in order to diminish risks of assigning unqualified profiles who are not team players.
Where to Find Experts and Consultants for Your Project Team
As mentioned before, the recruitment process may take a considerable amount of time in finding, reviewing and shortlisting possible team members.
Access to the internet, growing numbers of professional network sites and dedicated specialized sites allows project managers and human resources teams to advertise and access pools of consultants quicker and easier. But the new age of on online accessibility also brought other challenges such as a wider stream of applicants that requires considerable more time and effort to filter and review candidates.
LinkedIn is a popular place to find experts and consultants for your project team. One of the advantages to searching on LinkedIn is that you can often see where the candidate has worked in the past. Many LinkedIn members upload their entire resumes for online perusal by other LinkedIn members.
A disadvantage with LinkedIn is the amount of time it takes to find viable candidates. You need to spend time working the network and reading over countless pages that are only standardized to a small degree.
Additionally, what are the chances that the potential candidates you find on LinkedIn are actually available to take on the job? The time spent contacting consultants that are not interested or available for long or short-term projects is lost time which could have been applied elsewhere.
If you use LinkedIn to post your job opening, there is a significant fee involved, and no pre-selection or sorting of candidates is currently offered on LinkedIn.
2. Recruitment Agencies
Recruitment agencies claim to have inside access to top level consultants and experts. For that knowledge, they charge exorbitant amounts of money – often in the thousands – to source candidates that may or not be interested in leaving their current position. Getting a candidate to leave is your challenge, and typically the method that works best is a higher salary, which you may not be able to afford.
A big disadvantage for project teams in using a recruiting agency is that they don’t have access to short-term consultants.
So if your project is a one-off deal, or you don’t necessarily have a full-time position to offer after the project is completed, a recruiting agency would probably be of little help to you.
All in all, recruitment agencies offer a short cut to top-level, skilled experts and consultants, but the cost involved is much higher than almost any other method of finding project team members.
3. Online Marketplaces, Consulting Networks And Databases
Some online marketplaces and consulting networks and databases, such as Maximpact, can be a gold mine of talented individuals who are actively seeking new and challenging opportunities.
One of the many advantages to using a company like Maximpact is that experts and consultants are pre-qualified before they are approved to be listed on the network. So you, as a project manager, already know you’re looking at qualified candidates. Not having to sift through unqualified people saves you an enormous amount of time.
Comparative advantage of this network is that all consultants are pre-qualified per set of criteria, including : Technical knowledge of the topic, field experience, capacity building and interpersonal and team member skills.
Unlike LinkedIn, Maximpact offers job matching to further filter results, saving you time. In addition, short-term consultants are included in the selection, a very convenient resource should the need arise.
Consultants may even offer you instant home based assistance services, but they also may come to the field and work directly with you on a daily basis.
The costs for the service is carried by the consultants, so you, as a project manager (employer), don’t pay a thing.
Additional benefits are a virtual and safe environment where the entire recruiting process can take place, including, searching, interviewing, contract signing and payments.
At the end of the day, you need to get your project team together as soon as possible. Maximpact is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to complete your goal of building a project team.