During recruitment, the project manager thoroughly explains the role of a team member to each recruit. To ensure good communication, recruits should ask questions to clarify terms and concepts and make a frank and accurate assessment of how other commitments may impact their participation within the project. If necessary, the recruit, accompanied by the project manager, must be willing to discuss availability for the project with the recruit's supervisor.
While working on project it is important for a team member to show interest in the project and be committed to it, but only he or she can make this happen. Interest and commitment begin by understanding a project's goals and the priority that the project has been given within an organization. The team first learns this information at the kickoff meeting. All the details of what the project is to accomplish and why it is being undertaken are spelled out in this meeting. Because they are encouraged to query the project manager to clarify anything puzzling, no team member should leave the kickoff meeting not understanding a project's goals and priorities.
Understanding IPM project planning is equally important. Project planning is at the heart of IPM, and it likely will be new to most team members. The project manager will work hard to explain the process. Team members should ask questions until they fully understand the process.
Each team member must participate in a collaborative decision-making process. This process begins by taking part in the effort to create the norms to be used during the project meetings. Team members then must accept the norms and support them.
Team members are asked to play team leadership roles. The project manager will explain the collaborative leadership process and the roles to be played at the kickoff meeting. A team member must be prepared to spontaneously remind the rest of team that they are violating their own norms, when this seems appropriate. A team member must feel free to ask the team to invite input from a knowledgeable but silent member, and to alternatively remind them to hear and respect each person's input. A team member must be alert should a leadership opportunity arise during the team meetings, and must not hesitate to voice a norm reminder, request feedback or broad participation, or emphasize the importance of moving toward consensus. At the same time, other team members must be encouraged to play collaborative leadership roles. In short, it is important that team members participate as partners with the project manager in managing and planning the project but be careful not to dominate the procedure.
This is a big order. It calls for a level of involvement, judgment, and maturity not always expected of individuals in the workplace. Yet, many people respond positively when given a chance and a good reason to do so.
The activities required of team members go beyond collaborative leadership participation. It is crucial to successful project planning for the team to develop an all-inclusive task list. To contribute effectively to this effort, each team member should request help in identifying tasks from others persons who have experience in similar projects.
Seeking outside input does not end with the development of the task list. The project manager will communicate the importance of good task time estimates. To develop these estimates, the team member must again, "ask other experienced people for help," and if this becomes a problem, the team member must request assistance from the project manager. The required estimates include the "most of the time" task duration, the worst-case time requirement, and the likelihood of not finishing on time, which is given in a percentage.
The estimates then are brought to team meetings and presented to the team. Each team member must be willing to share constructively his or her opinion of the others' estimates and recognize that after discussion, the team member responsible for a task has the final say. When presenting estimates, a team member must listen thoughtfully to suggestions before making the final decision.
A team member must review risk sources and calculate a risk factor for each task, identify step-function risks if they might occur, and participate with the team in identifying risk insertion points for the risk factors and in determining the size of the risk factor at each insertion point.
When the planning is finished and project execution begins, each team member is responsible for keeping in touch with the project's progress and for timing his or her participation. Although much help will be forthcoming from the project manager, it is the team member's responsibility to pay close attention to the project.
Team members can aid a project's execution by communicating their needs to each other and by sharing information about their task's progression. They must be willing to play the two-way role of internal customer and to promptly communicate with the project manager if any problems arise.
None of this is easy. Many individuals have expressed doubt over the willingness of American workers to take on so much responsibility. There is much skepticism, with the skeptics resorting to authoritarian project management. However, in the modern American workplace, teams have repeatedly proven to be effective and productive. Industry Week magazine is a premier, down to earth, manufacturing management publication. In Industry Week's yearly review of America's most productive manufacturing organizations, teams and teaming are consistently the prime elements in the success of "America's best companies."
Teams work well for project management. If a supportive environment exists in the organization undertaking the project and the team members give teaming a chance, all will be well rewarded.