Effective Project Teams: The Importance of Cooperative Relationships
By Kelly J. Hill, MS, CRDSA, Director, Project & Account Management
When you take a close look at top performing teams you will find highly cooperative relationships. These “Super” teams can routinely meet the needs of its members and the organization in an efficient and sustainable fashion.
Effective project teams are teams where each member relies on others, where you know the skill set that each member brings to the table and each trusts their fellow colleagues to deliver on their end of the bargain.
As a member of the project management team, it has been a pleasure to support a number of high performing and highly collaborative teams at MMS.
Here are 6 characteristics of highly cooperative teams:
- The team culture invites discussion and each member feels they can give and receive constructive feedback. The goal is to encourage learning and process improvement. Offer feedback during Lessons Learned meetings but wherever possible share this information in real-time and where it relates to an individual colleague share this feedback with them directly. In turn, this feedback is shared between fellow team members.
- The team atmosphere is open, relaxed and comfortable where team members are allowed to be themselves and are engaged and invested in the project outcome.
- Team members recognize and value the different strengths that each member brings to the team. The team looks for ways to utilize each person’s unique strengths. In this industry, we work with a number of colleagues with special skills or areas of expertise – be sure to call on those team members where their help is useful.
- Team members feel that they belong and are contributing members; there is a willingness to make things work for the good of the whole team.
- There is a feeling of trust and cooperation. Each team member has a responsibility, they take this seriously and they deliver on their agreements.
- Shared responsibility for the success of the project and for the health of the team. Team members celebrate together – congratulating one another on team or individual milestones. It is not the job of management alone to thank team members – all team members are responsible for relationship building.
There are other components necessary to ensure highly effective and high performing teams but cooperation is an important element. Please consider how to encourage the behaviors of highly cooperative teams in working within departments and within cross-functional project teams.
Look for our next segment of Project Teams where we will focus on another important ingredient for high performing teams – common goals.
Can you name a 7th characteristic for effective project teams? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Other helpful references: