Project management header
products page

Teams part 2


There is a synergy about teams that you can not get from individuals alone.
When everyone is looking for any advantage for success the use of teams may be the answer.
A good team is a lot more than just a group of people getting together to solve a problem.

A team is not the same as a committee.

The definition of a team is:

‘A group of people organised to work together.’

The definition of a committee is:

‘A group of people chosen or appointed to perform a specified service or function .’

Committee mentality

In the latter case the individuals that come together will have a remit to examine a specific problem.
There is no real need to act as a team for each other and no great need for individual action. The aim is to decide on the next steps by others setting appropriate standards. The committee is usually made up of senior personnel.
Particular committees may only meet once to solve an issue and that’s it.
The committee might just represent heads of department.

In addition, many ‘group meetings’ consist of individuals with their own agendas trying to finish the meeting with as little actions as possible.
Department heads are very keen on the smooth running of teams within their own area but may be reluctant to adopt a team mentality when attending steering meetings, working parties and ad hoc meetings etc.

The team is usually put together to reach a particular goal.
They will meet regularly decide on specific actions and tasks and derive schedules.
The team will need to represent the required departments and be diverse in nature for maximum efficiency.

Other plusses

  • It becomes easier to solve problems due to shared experiences and skills
  • A team tends to use resources more efficiently
  • They usually improve cooperation
  • People feel more secure in a team


The make up of most committees comprises independent departments.
This in itself will discourage team work.
When a group of people realise that they can’t ‘go it alone’ and their success is completely dependent on each other team work becomes the order of the day.

Once team work begins people feel more at ease and good team members want to remain a part of it.
If there is no desire from the team members to behave in a team manner then the team will perform poorly.
Motivation is affected.
In this case either get new personnel on the team or disband the team.

Because you depend on others for overall success you must develop good relations with the other team members and be aware of their feelings and characteristics. Like any other aspect of performance if there is an element of self interest your cooperation and motivation will be higher.

Ideally, a good team is well balanced in terms of energy and skills.

Evidence of team work

When a team is working very well it might be hard to spot the elements that make it run smoothly.
It is often easier to realise that the team is functioning poorly.

Look for areas of independent action that appear to undermine a team approach.
Does everyone appear to enjoy the meeting or are they just waiting for it to finish?
Has this team any history? If so, were there any successes and how did they come about?