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TEAM: Project Team Environmental Analysis

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Analysis of Team Environment: Designing High Performance Project Teams

There are four elements within the environment of an organization that play an important role in determining the effectiveness of project teams. These four elements are: (1) expectations, (2) authority, (3) motivational and (4) triangulation.  Each of these elements can be increased or decreased. An effectively-designed project team (when mapped out on a Project Team Environmental Analysis graph) is one where the line linking authority and triangulation cross the line that links expectations and motivation.

Project Team Design

When adjusting team design, the first step to be taken by the project team in association with leaders of the organization is to set the level of Authority to reflect the resources allocated to the team—especially if the team and its project plays an important role in delivering customer value. Next, the project team in association with leaders of the organization should set a specific level of entrepreneurial behavior and creative tension for the team by increasing or decreasing Expectations and Motivation. Finally, members of the project team in association with leaders of the organization should adjust the level of Triangulation to ensure that the team will get the informal help it needs.

Two of the environmental elements measure the supply of resources the organization provides to project teams. The Authority element relates to the level of direct control a team has over people, assets, and information. The Triangulation element is its “softer” counterpart, reflecting the supply of resources in the contributions and good will offered by various stakeholders in the organization.

The other two elements—Expectations (hard) and Motivation (soft)—determine demands on the project team from various stakeholders in the organization. The level of expectations for a project team, as defined by the organization, directly affects the level of pressure on team members to make trade-offs; that pressure in turn drives the team’s need for organizational resources. The motivational level for a team, as determined by the structure of the team and the broader system in which the team is embedded, also reflects the extent to which team members have a legitimate right to request resources.

For any organization to operate at maximum efficiency and effectiveness, the supply of resources for each project team must equal the demand. In other words, Authority plus Triangulation must equal Expectations plus Motivation.

Using the Project Team Environmental Analysis Questionnaire and the Project Team Environmental Analysis Graph to determine levels of expectations, authority, motivation and triangulation, members of a project team can engage in a review of existing environmental levels and determine most appropriate environmental levels for efficiency and effectiveness.

Step One: Complete the Project Team Environmental Questionnaire, determining the levels for each of the four elements by assigning a rating (score from “1” to “5”) to each of the two sub-elements and adding together these two ratings (a total score from “2” to “10”).

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