OPIE Planning Process and the Project Team

The following paragraphs area excerpts from the new book O.P.I.E. Project Planning and Implementation for Teams, from the PLAN chapter related to Project Teams:

Before trying to develop a project plan, assemble a Project Team of people that have something to contribute to the overall project.  The Project Manager may already have a team assigned before he builds his plan so he can better estimate his resource budget and have the team participate in designing the project schedule.  Alternatively, the team may not exist until implementation, after the project has approval and a preliminary plan is established.  However, if the team can help with planning, then they are more likely to be committed to accomplishing the plan and the project goal or objective.  In addition, it is less likely that omission of important details from the plan will occur if the team is involved in developing the plan.

These project team members may have expertise in similar projects or be someone with a stake in the outcome of the project.  More experienced people will help insure the project stays on schedule, however working on a project with a mentor or others more experienced can be a great learning experience for those new to this type of work, process, service, or product.   Team members may be volunteers or given the assignment to participate on the project.   Typically, volunteers make more of an effort and require less supervision than those assigned without asking if they would like to participate.  Therefore, the Project Manager should talk with each perspective member to make sure they understand what their project responsibilities and accountability might be, what challenges they may look forward to, and what value they offer to the team.  Additionally, the Project Manager should note how much freedom each member would have in carrying out their tasks and making decisions related to their assignments.  

If the project team members have worked together before, then the project may start well.  Team members who have worked on team projects before will already be familiar with team problem solving and participatory decision-making and will see working on team as a motivating factor in their and others’ contribution to the project.  However, if some of the team members have not worked together or been part of a team before, the project manager may want to consider if there is need for any team training or other team-building activities to help the members work as a team.  If the team has not worked together before, in their first team meeting, members will need to establish conduct guidelines for personal and group behavior. The team may want to establish what types of information sharing may or may not go outside the project team as well.  Working as a team, the members should find they produce better project results in an effective manner. 

* NOTES:  The process stages of O.P.I.E. are Open, Plan, Implement, and End.  
                   See post next month with IMPLEMENT excerpt.

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