I resumed my course work this week at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. I’m on my fifth course of the Certificate in Project Management program.
The course appears, at first review, to be somewhere between a communications and a human resources focus where the constructs of Coming Together -> Working Together -> Staying Together within the context of the project life cycle.
Primarily the first class was a lot of high level discussion centered around each of our experiences thus far participating in or managing a project based team. For myself, what I envision being able to take from the course would be a justification or validation of my existing team team management skills, the opportunity to discover new methodologies and learning the appropriate terminology and build my overall management skill set for application in my day-to-day activities as a Director of Product. I’m particularly interested in managing non-collocated teams and working within non-traditional project workflows such as different agile methodologies.
Three key points hammered home within the first class were
Team – small groups of individuals with differing subject matter expertise committed to a single output with mutual responsibilities.
Project – temporary application of resources to a unique set of coordinated activities, with a defined start and finish, undertaken to meet specific objectives within defined cost and performance parameters.
Success – the fulfillment of the project within the given parameters it was created so that Scope, Resources, Schedule and Acceptance (Quality) are all balanced as defined by the project sponsor / stakeholder.
Since we rarely have the ability to select our own teams it is our job as managers to shape and mold the team dynamic to :
Identify the challenges to the team dynamic:
Managing the Multi-disciplinary Mix
Building / Bridging Specific Skills
Coping with Change
Dealing With Complexities
Maintaining Direction and Control
Overcoming Environmental Differences (culture, language, location, etc)
Identify the Challenges to the Project itself:
Poorly Defined Objectives
Inadequate Executive Support
Lack of Commitment (team member, Stakehoders)
Lack of Leadership
Poor Selection Process (Projects, Team members)
And leverage upon these core skills (take directly from the professor’s presentation):
Recognize different behavior styles and their impact on the performance of a team
Identify the benefits of working in the team environment
Recognize potential barriers to leading an effective team
Use methodologies to increase the effectiveness of forming and running a team
The can be accomplished by
Clearly communicating the objective and ongoing status
Developing ownership within the Team, Creating buy-in
Focusing on team member strengths when executing and controlling