Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Building Collaborative Teams

"We found that the greater the proportion of experts a team had, the more likely it was to disintegrate into non-productive conflict or stalemate." This is a statement made by Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erikson in the Harvard Business Review article “Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams” from November 2007.

A lot of the projects I am involved with require a large number of experts on very large teams. Some of the projects I am involved have non-productive conflict and stalemate at certain times. However that may be due to selection bias: my expertise lies in large complex projects that are in trouble.

So I would like other readers and contributors to this Blog views on two things:

1. Anecdotal evidence that supports or not the primary thesis: lots of experts leads to non-productive conflict and stalemate.
2. Some specific ways they have mitigated or proactively prevented such conflict from arising.

1 comment:

Satish Nagarajan said...

The Eight Factors outlined by the authors (Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erikson) are:

1. Investing in signature relationship practices. Executives can encourage collaborative behaviors by making highly visible investments in facilities, floor plans etc. to foster collaboration.
2. Modeling collaborative behavior. At companies were the senior executives demonstrate highly collaborative behavior, teams collaborate well.
3. Creating a “gift” culture. Mentoring and coaching and help people network.
4. Ensuring the requisite skills. HR should help people network.
5. Supporting a strong sense of community. When people feel a strong sense of community they will collaborate.
6. Assigning team leaders that are both task- and relationship-oriented. Pick team leaders who are good at building collaborative teams.
7. Building on heritage relationships. Build teams where at least a few people know one another on the team.
8. Understanding role clarity and task ambiguity. Cooperation increases when team member roles are well defined and yet the team is given latitude in achieving its tasks.

As befits the Harvard Business Review these ideas seem to be pitched to senior executives at organizations. Are these useful and actionable for a typical Project Manager?