Some IT projects have the same project team from start to finish, while others have changing personnel throughout the various stages of the project. At some point, whether it's at the very inception of the project or somewhere after the project definition and organization, you'll need to put together your project team. While you could theoretically put your team together after you've planned the whole project, you'd be starting it off on the wrong foot. Ideally, the project team should be involved in the defining, organizing, planning, execution, and assessment of the project. While this is not always possible in the real world, it is what you should be aiming for. Here's why: a project team provides subject matter expertise you probably lack, ideas and perspectives different from your own, information and contacts with others in the organization that are relevant to the project, and more heads and hands to help get the project work done.
While all of these are essential for success, there is one additional element that might be the single most important reason to get your project team on board early in the project life cycle: ownership. If you've ever been handed a complete plan and told to go implement it, you probably know just how your project team would feel if that happened to them. You're less than enthusiastic about the assignment because you had no part in designing, developing, and planning it. In fact, the approach to the project itself might be so different that you really have a hard time getting your arms around it, even though you understand what's outlined. People are far more likely to participate fully when they have a hand in the definition, organization, and planning of a project. They'll feel a sense of ownership and will usually work hard to ensure the project is a success. Since the IT project manager is typically managing a team over which they have little formal organizational authority, creating a sense of commitment to the team and to the project is critical to actually being able to get the project team to complete the project within the scope, time, cost, and quality required.
In Chapter 4, you learned a lot about why people work, what motivates them, and how to work within a diverse team. You also learned what it takes to create a high performance team, so if you skipped over Chapter 4, now may be a good time to go back and read (or review) it. In this chapter, you'll learn about how to put together a project team and how to assign roles and responsibilities to team members. You'll also learn about how to track and manage performance and deliverables and what to do if trouble arises. In Chapter 9 we'll begin the detailed planning tasks for the project, and having your project team in place and ready to go for these planning tasks will be essential. If you put your project team together (or if some of the team members have changed) at this point, you should review the definition and organization with them and make any needed modifications prior to moving forward. This will begin to build a sense of commitment to the project and may also provide new information that helps make the project better. If your project team has been with you from the start, you'll be ready to hit the planning stage running. But, don't skip this chapter even if your team is formed; there are a few tips and tricks you'll find helpful before moving on. Figure 8.1 shows where we are in our project planning process.
Figure 8-1. IT Project Management Process Overview