Self-managed Teams

Self-managed teams are autonomous teams who take on many of the responsibilities of their former supervisors. They solve problems, implement solutions and take full responsibility for outcomes.

Typically, self-managed teams perform related or interdependent jobs. They select their own members and evaluate each others performance. The responsibilities such teams take on are;
  1. Planning and scheduling of work.
  2. Assigning tasks to members.
  3. Collective control over the pace of work. They have willingness to work together to achieve goals.
  4. Making operating decisions.
  5. Taking actions to solve problems.
Self-managed teams increase productivity and satisfaction. However, the effectiveness of self-managed teams is depends on the situation. It depends on:
  1. The type of tasks undertaken by the team and work design in terms of autonomy, skill variety, task identity and task significance.
  2. The strength of the team norms.
  3. The performance-based reward system in the team. It should be perceived equitable by team members.
  4. Composition of team in terms of member abilities, personality, roles, size.
  5. Situational leadership and common goals.
  6. Flexibility to adapt to changing environment.
A project team is a formal team created deliberately to achieve specific objectives. It is generally a cross-functional team. It consists of a group of people from different backgrounds, experiences, disciplines, skills and personal needs. The project manager is the leader of the project team. It is his responsibility to build project people into a cohesive team by harnessing their abilities, creativity and efforts to achieve project objectives.

Types of Teams

Problem-solving Teams
The problem-solving teams are concerned with ways of improving quality, efficiency and work environment. They consist of members from the same department. The teams meets for a few hours each week and solve the problems that are emerging in the organization.

Quality circle presents an example of such team. It is concerned with solving problems related to quality, efficiency and safety at work place. Problem solving teams share ideas and offer suggestions. However, they lack authority to make and implement decisions.

Cross-functional Teams
The cross-functional teams or project management team are made up of employees from different work areas. They come together to accomplish a specific project. The membership cuts across departments and functions. Members are experts in various specialties.

Project, committee and task force are example of cross-functional teams.

Cross functional teams are effective to:
  • manage complex projects
  • exchange information
  • develop new ideas and solve problems
  • solve problems
However, these teams take time to build trust and team work. Members need to learn to work with diversity and complexity. Effectiveness of cross-functional team depends on:
  1. Establishment of clear and specific goals and constraints.
  2. Careful selection and development of members.
  3. Equity in rewarding efforts of members.
Virtual Teams
Virtual teams use information technology and computers to tie together physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal. Members collaborate on-line through communication links such as:
  • Wide Area Networks (WAN)
  • Video conferencing
  • E-mail, Voice-mail etc.
Virtual teams lack fact-to-face communication. They have limited social interaction. But they overcome time and space constraints. They allow people to work together who are miles apart.

    Project Team Building

    Projects involve more than one person. Team work is crucial to achieve project success. Team building is an ongoing process in projects.
    A work group is a group that interacts primarily to share information and make decisions to help each member perform. It s performance is summation of what its members perform as individuals.

    A team is a group of people performing tasks together. Their individual efforts result in positive synergy through coordinated efforts. Its performance is greater than the summation of what its members perform as individuals. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Work Group Work Team


    Synergistic efforts are always more than the individuals efforts. If all individuals work separately then the overall efforts will be 2 + 2 = 4. If same work is performed by the efforts of group or team then it produce 2+2=5 output.

    A team has the following characteristics:
    • Its goal is collective performance. It is guided by specific team objectives. 
    • The outcome is positive synergy through collective outputs. It measures performance directly in terms of collective team effectiveness.
    • The leadership role share shared. Team members interact and are interdependent on each other.
    • The accountability is individual and mutual.
    • The member skills are multiple and complementary.
    • It discusses and decides through active problem solving meetings. It does real work.
    • Teams build esprit de crops, build synergy, permit faster decision making, facilitate workforce diversity, increase performance, promote creativity and manage change.

    Part of Functional Organization Structure

    The part of functional organization structure is generally suitable for small projects. The project tasks are performed as part of functional departments. Production department, Marketing department, Finance department, Human resource department are some of the functional departments that are included in the functional organization. Authority and responsibility is divided into line and staff in hierarchical order. The line authority will decide where as the staff authority will advise in such organization.
    Fig. Project Organization as Part of Functional Organization Structure
    • This organization structure is flexible in the use of existing human resources. The expertise can be utilized by different projects.
    • This organization structure will develops expertise and specialization in human resources.
    • Functional departments can provide knowledge, experience and technical skills to the projects if necessary.
    • There is no clear cut responsibility for the project and no effective mechanism for coordination and integration of resources that are available in the organization for the project. Only functional divisions focus on functional activities.
    • Since there is no clear cut responsibility and a lot of hierarchy, there is delay in decisions. Due to delay in decision making, project performance is adversely affected.
    • There is communication gap between top-down or bottom-up members.