This is a point which it is easy to overlook when the pressure levels get cranked up but it is absolutely essential to a successful conclusion to the piece of work. The good news is that there are some simple steps which will let you do this.
One Big Team
The first thing you should do is help to generate the feeling that the whole team is in it together. It isn’t a question of the project manager running the show and everyone else doing what they are told. The project won’t be a success unless everyone adds their own ideas and creativity, and this is a point you need to get across to all of them. The team needs to be more than the sum of its parts and for this to happen you need strong contributions from everyone involved in it. Whether it is a big team which is spread out geographically or a smaller group of workers you should still take the same approach of considering that you are all in it together.
Give Easy Access
One of the first tasks you will probably want to carry out is that of setting up the computer network and the individual folders. I have worked in some projects where these were all kept separate but unless there is a legal reason for doing this I don’t see any point. If you can let all of your team see what everyone else in the project is up to then this could help them see the big picture and also get some new ideas on their own pieces of work.
Create a Culture of Communication
If no one feels free to speak your mind then you will lose a lot of potential ideas. What you need to do is build up the trust and confidence in the team so that they all feel free to speak their mind and add their own ideas. The project team meetings are ideal places to start this process and the results can be extremely positive if you get it right. The project manager is really the only person who can get this side of things going so you need to pay a lot of attention to it from the very start of the project.
Every Idea Counts
Even if you get people in the team communicating with each other it is still all too easy to forget to make sure that everyone knows that their contributions are valued equally. The early enthusiasm which your team members feel for coming up with ideas will quickly fade away if they think that their good ideas are being ignored. This means that you need to keep on encouraging them to come up with new thoughts which could add positively to the project. Brainstorming sessions are especially good for this and all you need to do is point out at the start that no idea is going to be discarded without receiving the attention it deserves.
Splint Into Small Teams
I always found that I worked best when I was in a small team of just two or three. The first benefit of working this way is that it allows the mini team to take on more responsibility. They will still need to report to the project manager but if you give them a chance to resolve problems and make decisions on their own then this can help their development and also give you a more productive team as well.
The Project Manager Matters
For any team to work effectively the person leading it needs to lead by example and make sure that everything goes smoothly. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of project management for many people. If you enjoy dealing with people then you should revel in the chance to get your team working together harmoniously. There are a number of ways of doing this and most of them are fun to get involved with. If you can get everyone contributing and collaborating together then the entire piece of work will be a lot easier for you. You certainly shouldn’t think about being the type of project leader who tries to keep all of the work for themselves and doesn’t give other team members a chance to add their own ideas to the work. There is also room in any project for other thoughts and different ways of looking at things.