As a project manager, your job is very similar to the team leader from one of your favorite spy caper movies: putting together a team that has all the skills to get the job done. You will need to deal with many issues that rarely come up in a spy movie, however, such as characters who dodge work and complain about the difficulty of the job. This article will help you deal with some of these problems. It is excerpted from the book IT Project Management: On Track from Start to Finish, Second Edition by Joseph Phillips (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004; ISBN: 0072232021).
D. The project manager should know in advance of the WBS creation the skills of the team members so that she can assign tasks fairly. A skills assessment also helps the project manager
A, C. Experience is always one of the best barometers for skills assessment. If the prospective team member has worked on similar projects, that person should be vital for the current implementation. Recommendations from management on team members can aid a project manager in assigning tasks and recruiting new team members.
A. Resumes can show the skill sets of prospective team members, but they have a tendency to imply getting or keeping a job. In lieu of resumes, project managers can use a listing of accomplishments and skills to determine the talent of recruits.
B. Industry certifications are a valuable source for proving that individuals are skilled and able to implement the technology. Certifications on their own, however, do not provide team development.
C. Training is an expense rather than an investment when the result of the training does not increase the team’s ability to complete the project. A factor in determining if training should be implemented or not is the time of training and its impact on a project’s deadline.
D. This is an example of withdrawal. While this method often is the failure to effectively come to a decision, it can be effective when a decision is not needed immediately. This approach can allow the team to “cool off” on the decision and move into other pressing matters.
B. A leader leads best by doing. By setting the example of being hard working, reliable, and available to your team members, you will show them the type of workers you hope they are as well. Leading by fear, or through an iron-fist mentality, should not be an option in today’s workplace.
C. Camaraderie is an element that can’t be forced upon a team. Years of working together, friendships, and us-against-them mindsets do not create camaraderie. The experience of the team as a whole is where camaraderie stems from.
D. WIIFM, the “What’s In It For Me” theory, personalizes the benefits of the project for each team member. By demonstrating what the individual will gain from the project, you help increase that team member’s sense of ownership and responsibility to the project.
A. Subteams are not less important than the overall project team. Subteams are collections of specialists who will be responsible for a single unit of the project plan, or a geographical structure.
C. When working with multiple subteams, the project manager and the team leader of each subteam must have open communications. The subteams should follow the change of command through each team leader, to the project manager, and the project manager to the project sponsor.
C. A good team building exercise is something out of the ordinary that gels the ability of the team to work together. Luncheons and introductions at meetings are standard fare that don’t always bring a team closer together.
A. Interviews of prospective team members allow the project manager to determine if those people have assets to offer to a project. Because the team members are prospective, the project manager can conduct a typical interview using formal or informal approaches to ascertain the level of skills from each prospect.
A, C. In some instances, interviews can determine if the project, or more likely portions of the project, should be outsourced because of the skills required or the timeline of the project. Interviews of the existing team members, if they’ve been assigned to the project manager, can help the project manager determine the tasks each team member can be responsible for.
C. An RFP is a Request For Proposal to the SOW, or statement of work. The RFP typically means the buyer is open to recommendations and solutions from the seller. The decision to buy is not made on cost alone.
Exercise 1: Possible Solution
What is the primary purpose of this role on the team?
What type of software will the team member be using to create the application?
ColdFusion, Java, Visual J++, or any other web development program
What type of database is being queried?
ColdFusion, Oracle, SQL, Lotus Domino, or others
To whom will the team member report?
The project manager
What other activities will the team member be responsible for?
Working with the database designer, the database administrator, the web developer, and other team members
What are some personal traits that this person should have?
Hard working, fast learning, dedicated, focused
Your job description should be something like this:
Web developer: This highly skilled, focused individual will beresponsible for creating a commerce-enabled application that communicates with a SQL database. Experience in Visual J++, XML, and SQL Transaction statements are a must. Experience working with SQL or Dreamweaver a plus.
Exercise 2: Possible Solution
Your Question for the Prospective Team Member
How important is the level of experience for this job?
How many years have you been working as an application developer?
How important is it to you that this person know web development software?
What type of web development applications do you work with?
Can you give an example of a particular web development project where you found a faster or better solution?
How important is an industry certification for this role?
Have you ever taken any classes on the applications you work with? Reactionary question: Have you earned any certifications from the associated vendor?
How important is the ability of the individual to work with web design software?
Have you ever designed any of your own web pages? Reactionary question: What web software did you use to design the site?
How important is experience with databases for this project?
Have you ever worked with SQL (or the database you specified for this job description)?
What are some web technology requirements and how does this relate to the interviewee?
What type of web servers have you worked with? For example, UNIX, IIS, Linux?
How important are security concepts on a web application?
What type of security mechanisms have you worked with? For example, how did you address security with other commerce-enabled designs?
Will the e-commerce portion of the project be done in-house or outsourced?
Have you implemented e-commerce applications from the ground up? Reactionary question: If so, what are some examples?
What type of personal traits are you looking for in this role?
What’s your average day like? Reactionary question: How often have you worked overtime?
You create the next two questions that are relevant to the position:
What’s the best thing about web development?
If you could change one thing in web design, what would it be?