Sunday 24 April 2022

Fix conflicting project team

Interpersonal conflicts exist in many teams. 


But in some cases, a personal confrontation in a team can go so far that it will be extremely difficult for such a team to work. The most "clinical" option is also possible, when an interpersonal problem arises between the project manager himself and the rest of the team or some part of it. In such a case, as a rule, the project manager has very limited opportunities to correctly diagnose and effectively solve the problem. Therefore, if such a situation is recognized by a sponsor or a superior manager, then this may well be followed by the replacement of the project manager. In this case, it will be an easier way to solve than trying to replace the entire project team.

And yet. If you are a project manager who inherited a project team that is incapacitated due to interpersonal conflicts, then there are a number of points that require your close attention.

The first thing you have to do is to assess the current state of the project. 


Your response to problems within the team will depend on where the project is relative to the schedule. For example, if you have 20-30 days left, you have less opportunity to influence the dynamics of the team. In such a case, the best course of action may be to motivate the team for a final push and focus on meeting the work schedule. On the other hand, if there are still many months left before the end of the project, you need to determine what you can do to restore team cohesion, as well as, if necessary, how to reschedule the schedule to eliminate the backlog or set new real deadlines. Any of your team morale recovery action plans should include the following:

Communicate effectively. 


If a project manager doesn't know how or doesn't take the time to communicate, it can lead to a sad experience. Teams with a bad moral climate also tend to deteriorate internal communications. Stop rumors and don't let speculation accumulate. As much as possible, share all information on the status of the project and about everything else that can somehow affect the team.

Praise and encourage. 


When the people on your team are doing well, make sure they know about it. When doing a good job, people don't expect money or gifts, but a simple recognition in the form of a pat on the shoulder with words of praise from the manager. Encourage good work both officially and not officially, but always try to do this so that the rest of the team knows about the praise or encouragement.

Set clear expectations. 


People need to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, as well as what difficulties they have to overcome. Make sure that when distributing work, you give clear instructions, and everyone understands what results are expected from their work.

Don't overload the team. 


When trying to improve morale, be careful not to overload the team. Fix the rest of the work until the project is completed, eliminate all extraneous work, and postpone work that can be done after the delivery of the main results.

Manage changes. 


Keep careful management of the project content and try to postpone all changes as much as possible until the original content of the project is completed.

Win and celebrate small victories. 


A team's poor moral climate can cause deadlines to be missed, which subsequently causes additional moral pressure and further deterioration in morale. The diametrically opposite relationship is also true. If the team starts meeting intermediate deadlines (and you certainly announce this and praise them), the team's morale will improve and it will be much easier for it to cope with the next deadline.

These are just some of the recommendations for changing the demoralized project team for the better. Make sure you know where you are on the chart and how long it will take for all the significant changes. Try to see all the problems of the team and, if possible, their root causes. Then implement an action plan, depending on how much work and time is left until the project is completed. In case of time pressure, concentrate on the chart. If there is enough time, pay attention to both the restoration of the functionality of the project team, and the completion of the project in the allotted time.

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