Based on managing projects for over 25 years, the most significant lesson I can share is the importance of relationship building. As companies move away from organization charts and staff projects using the Agent Based Modeling Technique (see “Understanding the Complexity of Project Team Member Selection Through Agent-Based Modeling”), it is increasingly important for project managers to put more personal attention to team members’ interpersonal relationships in team selection.
Studies have proven interdependencies may have as much or more effect on team performance than individual knowledge, skills, and abilities, and this is often overlooked.
Project complexities will decide how the teams will be structured, what tools they will use and how the execution will happen. This essentially means that, while there has been an emphasis on individual competency, organizations would be better off keeping familiar team members together.
This trend is likely to happen in 2016 and beyond. Millennials are known for being particularly community oriented and will demand to be placed on the same team as their “work friends.” Expect this trend to continue to grow over the next few years.
Another point to pass on is that it is not wise to forget your project’s sponsor and stakeholders. You should not become so involved with your team and the work at hand that you overlook this very important group of people. These are the people who have an investment or interest in the project's outcome, but who are not directly involved in making it happen. Whether or not the entire project succeeds or fails may depend on the opinions and influences of these people. I always make sure that I know from the outset who they are, what form their interest in the project takes, and what they need and desire. From there, it's much easier to start and maintain a great working relationship with them.