When this phrase is uttered, all participating superheroes know what to do: use their particular power to solve the problem at hand.
What makes a perfect project team?
Project team members
Although professional project teams often function without a catchphrase, the idea is the same: a team of talented specialists, led by a project manager, unite and use their unique strengths to solve a common problem. For this reason, you should choose your project team carefully, with consideration as to who would best accomplish certain jobs, and who best fills each role.
A stellar project team begins with a stellar project manager, so be sure to first check out the "14 Project Management Skills to Look for in a Hire." But if you’re ready to get the ball rolling on the task at hand, you’ll benefit from understanding the various roles that play a part in the project life cycle.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the varying roles that make up a project team, as well as the responsibilities associated with each.
Creating your project team
First, let’s go over the different roles that a project team consists of, and what part they play within the greater team dynamic.
The project manager (PM) is the practical leader of the whole operation. PMs are responsible for writing a business case, determining the project’s budget, creating a project schedule, assigning individual tasks to team members, and monitoring a project’s progress.
While a PM may not work on the project itself, they facilitate all the surrounding details and information.
For example, if a PM is contracted to help a company create a new website, that PM would strategize for and plan the project, but would then hire design or UX professionals to execute the project tasks.
Additional responsibilities for a project manager are: writing the executive summary, communicating with upper management and stakeholders, and deciding which project methodology would best suit the task at hand. For example, which should win in a decision of Agile vs. Scrum?
It’s the PM’s job to figure this out.
TIP: Projects are a team effort. Familiarize yourself with the different types of managers that make up an effective project team.
Project team member
A project team member is any individual who contributes to the success of a project. Team members can be internal employees, or external hires contracted for temporary work. For example, a project manager may need to contract a web designer if they don’t currently have anyone with that skill set onboard.
Team members are responsible for their contributions and roles as individuals, which vary depending on their title and the project’s needs. In short, a team member’s responsibility is to do their assigned tasks effectively and efficiently, communicate progress with managers, and ensure the project is able to move on to the next step in the process.
A business analyst’s role on the project team is to aid the project manager in determining the best course of action. Essentially, a business analyst uses his or her skills of interpreting direction and understanding objectives to help keep steer your project in the best direction.
On the project team, a business analyst is responsible for setting clear boundaries within the scope of the project, and keeping a record of any technical needs.
Project stakeholders, also referred to as the project sponsors, are individuals who project managers answer to. These team players are usually in an upper-management role and had a hand in approving the project as a necessary venture.
Stakeholders are invested in the progress of a project, as it could affect their bottom line or other business success.
A stakeholder is responsible for determining the need for the project, and approving the best course of action. They also closely monitor progress through reports or data submitted by the project manager.
Stakeholders ensure all members of the team have what they need to accomplish their goals, and they keep others in the organization up-to-date on project executions.
Consider an executive stakeholder to be like a “big boss,” whose authority is greater than the project stakeholder. It is important for this individual to agree with the proposed project deliverables and objectives.
This stakeholder will be necessary if the project manager determines a need for excess funds or resources, or a change in the project’s scale.
How to succeed in business
The secret to succeeding in business? You have to try, and try really hard. Project managers are responsible for creating a dynamic team, facilitating clear communication among team members, and troubleshooting if or, more likely, when, things go awry.
But with amazing key players, organizations can accomplish great things.
Grace Pinegar is a lifelong storyteller with an extensive background in various forms such as acting, journalism, improv, research, and content marketing. She was raised in Texas, educated in Missouri, worked in Chicago, and is now a proud New Yorker. (she/her/hers)