A project team is a team whose members usually belong to different groups, functions and are assigned to activities for the same project. A team can be divided into sub-teams according to need. Usually project teams are only used for a defined period of time. They are disbanded after the project is deemed complete. Due to the nature of the specific formation and disbandment, project teams are usually in organizations.
A team is defined as “an interdependent collection of individuals who work together towards a common goal and who share responsibility for specific outcomes of their organizations”. An additional requirement to the original definition is that “the team is identified as such by those within and outside of the team”. As project teams work on specific projects, the first requirement is usually met. In the early stages of a project, the project team may not be recognized as a team, leading to some confusion within the organization. The central characteristic of project teams in modern organizations is the autonomy and flexibility availed in the process or method undertaken to meet their goals.
Most project teams require involvement from more than one department, therefore most project teams can be classified as cross functional team. The project team usually consists of a variety of members often working under the direction of a project manager or a senior member of the organization. Projects that may not receive strong support initially often have the backing of a project champion. Individual team members can either be involved on a part-time or full-time basis. Their time commitment can change throughout the project depending on the project development stage.
Project teams need to have the right combination of skills, abilities and personality types to achieve collaborative tension. Teams can be formulated in a variety of ways. The most common method is at the discretion of a senior member of the organization.
- Sundstrom, E., DeMeuse, K. P., & Futrell, D. (1990). Work teams: Applications and effectiveness. American Psychologist, 45, 120-133.
- West, B., Borril, C. S., & Unsworth, K. L. (1998). Team effectiveness in organizations. In C. L. Copper & I. T. Robertson (Eds.), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 13, 1-48.