Team building in the woods? Fantasy football league? No meetings on Fridays? These are examples of team culture and it’s something you should consider with your team. The project team culture operates within the organization’s culture but reflects the project team’s individual ways of working and interacting. We’re talking about why it’s important.
All lessons are based on the PMBOK®, 7th Edition.
CAPMP, PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.
Sign up to get updates on new episode
Team building in the woods? Fantasy football league? No meetings on Fridays? Knowing Kaye is afraid of clowns so you hire one for her 3-year work anniversary? These are examples of team culture and it’s something you should consider with your team. And yeah, I’m afraid of clowns. The project team’s culture may be established deliberately by developing project team norms or informally through the behaviors and actions of it’s project team members. The project team culture operates within the organization’s culture but reflects the project team’s individual ways of working and interacting.
Project managers, you are key to establishing and maintaining a safe, respectful, nonjudgmental (as much as you can) environment that allows the project team to communicate openly. How do we do this? Well, being transparent and honest is a start. You should communicate everything to the project team and give them the full scope of any situation as long as it will help them and it’s not something confidential from leadership.
Another way is being respectful to the team. Be compassionate on how the team thinks, their skills, perspectives and expertise. When you are respectful to one person, that energy spreads to everyone. Because on the flip side, when you are dismissive and rude, everyone does that and now you just created a toxic environment.
Give a quick pause on toxic environments: sometimes we stumble into it, and now we feel trapped. One word of advice is not to feed into it. Yeah, I know it’s easier said than done, but you can try to be the person to change it as much as you can. Or at least within your team. Your team could be a sanctuary island, and the rest of the organization could be a cesspool of toxic waste. And when you spread respect, even in the face of someone being disrespectful, it makes you look like the bigger person. But also, I’m not saying take shit from people either.
You should also be supportive. Your team will go through work-related issues but also personal ones that could affect their work. Have open dialogues and see how you can remove barriers for them. That could mean things like they are moving and need an extra day off. Or they cannot get approval from a client so you step in to get buy-in. Being Supportive may also mean not understanding both sides if there is a difference in opinion on how a project is going. Don’t argue, but have a healthy debate if something they suggest contradicts the project's future.
Encouragement is a great thing to do. It can come in small ways that can go a long way, like acknowledging your engineer for catching an error during a team meeting.
Lastly, celebrating success. Especially large launches or even small tasks that can have a lasting effect on the overall project, popping a little champagne makes the team, well feel special and valued. Celebration can come in many forms from parties to additional paid time off or if the company got some money, paid vacations.
That is your PMP in a Snap. We’ll see you again next week.