Project management requires a team of individuals with diverse skills and personalities to work effectively. A team that is well-balanced with a mix of people who complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses can significantly increase the chances of project success. 

“The selection of a good project management team is crucial to the success of a project. This team should include a ‘mix’ of the right type of people.”

There are several popular theories for team development that are used in organisational planning and management. 

  • Myers & Briggs theory is an interpretation of Carl Jung psychology types and relating them to everyday life, it categorises people by how they “think & feel”. The goal of the MBTI (Myers & Briggs Type Indicator) is to allow respondents to further explore and understand their own personalities including their likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, possible career preferences, and compatibility with other people.
  • Bruce Tuckman developed a framework that explained the basis for effective team building.Tuckman’s model is significant because it recognizes the fact that groups do not start off fully-formed and functioning. He suggests that teams grow through clearly defined stages, from their creation as groups of individuals, to cohesive, task-focused teams. Typically recognised by the team development stages of forming, storming, norming & performing. 
  • One useful framework for understanding team dynamics and selecting the right mix of people for a project management team is Belbin’s Team Role Theory.

Lets look at the selection of the project management team considering the concepts of Belbin Team Role Theory.

During the 1970s, Dr Meredith Belbin and his research team began a unique study into team effectiveness at the Administrative Staff College at Henley. The research revealed that the key determinant for team success was not intellect, but a balance of behaviours. The team identified a number of distinct clusters of behaviour which were useful to the team. These were called “Belbin Team Roles”. A ninth role, based on specialist knowledge, was to emerge later.

A Team Role came to be defined as a cluster of behavioural attributes needed to facilitate team progress. It was discovered that different people displayed different Team Roles to varying degrees.

There are, however, some limitations to the Belkin model which we must be cognisant of. The roles outlined by Belbin are primarily concerned with collaborative work, and don’t necessarily describe how individuals perform on independent projects. 

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According to Belbin’s theory, there are nine different team roles, grouped into three primary divisions, that individuals can take on. Each role has its strengths and weaknesses, and a successful team should include a mix of different roles. These divisions and roles are:

People Orientated

  1. Coordinator – confident and focused, they help to bring the team together and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
  2. Resource Investigator – outgoing and enthusiastic, they are good at networking and gathering information from outside the team.
  3. Team Worker – diplomatic and supportive, they help to maintain good relationships within the team and keep everyone working together.

Thought Orientated

  1. Plant – creative and unorthodox, they are good at coming up with new ideas and solutions.
  2. Monitor Evaluator – analytical and objective, they provide a critical and impartial evaluation of ideas and suggestions.
  3. Specialist – knowledgeable and dedicated, they provide expertise in a particular area.

Action Orientated

  1. Implementer – practical and reliable, they ensure that plans and ideas are put into action effectively.
  2. Completer Finisher – conscientious and detail-oriented, they ensure that all tasks are completed to a high standard.
  3. Shaper – dynamic and challenging, they push the team to achieve its goals and overcome obstacles.

By selecting team members who can take on different roles, a project management team can benefit from a diverse range of skills, personalities, and perspectives. 

For example, a team with a good mix of Plant, Monitor Evaluator, and Implementer roles might be particularly effective at generating new ideas, evaluating them objectively, and putting them into action. Meanwhile, a team with a good mix of Coordinator, Teamworker, and Completer Finisher roles might be particularly effective at working together efficiently and ensuring that tasks are completed to a high standard.

Of course, personality types also play an important role in selecting the right team members for a project management team. For example, individuals who are introverted and prefer to work independently may not be the best fit for roles that require a lot of teamwork and collaboration. Similarly, individuals who are more impulsive and risk-taking may be better suited to roles that require innovation and taking calculated risks.

In summary, the selection of a good project management team requires careful consideration of the mix of skills, personalities, and perspectives that each team member brings to the table. Belbin’s Team Role Theory provides a useful framework for understanding team dynamics and selecting the right mix of people for a successful project management team.



Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash