Building Effective Project Teams

First published in Software Quality Professional Vol 5, Issue 2, March 2003

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Author Robert K. Wysocki
Publisher Wiley Computer Publishing / John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Published New York; 2002
ISBN 0-471-01392-7
# of Pages 266 + CD-ROM

Team Management; Team Tools; Risk Management

Think “mentor talking with you over a cup of your favorite brew” and you will have identified the focus of this book. Wysocki takes for granted that you already have the basic management and project management skills and his objective is to reduce the risk that your project will fail by teaching you how to build your team. He teaches you a comprehensive system for assessing, forming, developing, and deploying an effective project team.

This book introduces the concept, model, and application of this system, which he calls TeamArchitect. In addition, the book contains a CD-ROM that contains all of the data used in the case study described in the book.

Part One consists of four chapters that provide the background and infrastructure for building effective project teams. Part Two consists of five chapters that cover the assessment process and introduces five assessment tools that do not need a certified professional to interpret the results. Part Three consists of three chapters that take the information compiled in Part Two and shows how the tools are used to profile a project and the project team. Part Four shows how to develop strategies for making team alignment decisions and how to sustain that alignment over the life

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Because I was not familiar with this author who has published numerous books on the topic of Project Management, I expected that this would be another book that described the team solely in terms of the skills needed by the project vs. the skills possessed by the members of the team. Instead I found that Wysocki takes the contrarian position — that individual thinking styles, problem-solving and decision-making styles, and conflict management styles and strategies have a major impact on the success or failure of the project regardless of the task or the project.

In addition the book contains generic knowledge, skills, behaviors, and experiences that identify the proficiency of the project manager. By comparing that profile to the project complexity level, the organization can determine the readiness of an individual to assume project management responsibility.

Wysocki understands that being able to recruit the entire project

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team may be a once in a lifetime experience and that it is more likely that the manager will have either no choice as to the membership or a choice of only some members of the team. It is this understanding that distinguishes this book from other books.

And, in keeping with this mentor approach, he makes it easy for you to learn more. His list of suggested reading is diverse. He provides his website to supplement the book and the CD-ROM. Finally he provides his email address so you can contact him.

This is a recommended book both for those who want to merely understand the concept of building an effective team and those who want to implement the concept and reduce the risk of project failure.