Why It Matters: Groups, Teams, and Teamwork

Why does a manager need to understand groups, teams, and teamwork?

Programmers working around a table

How does a manager get a group of individuals to function as a team?

Lisa is a project manager with IT Solutions, and she was recently given an assignment to deliver a new customer relationship management database for the organization’s largest client. When Lisa met with her boss, she received information about the members of her team. Here are the notes she took on each person’s background:

  • Paul – Ten years of experience with various types of projects; expertise in budgets and scheduling.
  • Susan – Five years of experience as a programmer; limited exposure to this type of project.
  • Tim – Seven years of experience; excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Dan – Two years of experience; no exposure to this type of project.
  • Wendy – Eight years of experience; strong programming and project management experience; significant exposure to these types of projects.

As Lisa reviews the specifics of the project, she realizes she has a lot to accomplish, and the deadlines are really tight. As mentioned earlier, this is IT Solutions’ largest client, so it is vital that the team be successful. To do this, its members will need to function well together—and work quickly.

Unfortunately, this is a team that is being brought together specifically for this project. Lisa has worked with Susan and Tim briefly on a couple of earlier projects. Tim has worked with Dan in the past, but otherwise, this is a brand new team.

How would you start building a team from this group of individuals? What problems do you think you might have along the way, and how will you deal with them? Managers need to understand the nature of teams and how to build them effectively. In this module, you will learn why teams are important, how to develop effective teams, and how to deal with common conflicts that might arise.