Setting Up a Project Team for Success

Teamwork plays a vital role in the success of any organization. Specifically, being able to work as a team contributes to the success of Lean Six Sigma projects and continuous improvement efforts. Team performance is about reaching the potential of each individual as well as the team as a whole.

Keys to Operating a Successful Lean Six Sigma Project Team

When creating the team for the organization’s next project, it is important to provide the team as much clarity as possible about both the project they will be working on and the roles that everyone on the team will be playing. This is especially important in today’s environment in which many project teams are operating virtually.

Things to Consider When Defining the Project

The project charter is a great tool for introducing the project to the team.

  • Review the charter with team members to clarify any uncertainties about the project.
  • Make updates to the charter as needed.
  • Review the goals and objectives as a team.
  • Be sure to apply the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound).

SMART criteria ensure that everyone knows the target and how to measure the success of the project.

Things to Consider When Defining the Team

Team members work more effectively when they know what is expected of them and understand the strengths of their fellow team members. Once this is established, the team can avoid the “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome and institute a culture of accountability.

Roles and responsibilities should be well-defined and shared with the entire team so that everyone knows who does what. In addition to defining the roles and responsibilities with your team members, it is helpful to establish ground rules about how the team will function:

  • Agree on how to work together and make decisions
  • Agree to leverage the team’s differences and interpersonal styles
  • Agree that communication will be clear and honest among the team
  • Commit to a conflict resolution process

Defining the Team’s Profile

Many factors influence team dynamics, such as the skill sets, personalities, and behaviors of team members. It is beneficial to assess challenges, strengths, and opportunities for improvement among the members as well as the team as a whole. The ultimate goal of team building is to enable the members to use their different cognitive and behavioral tendencies and strengths. When developing the team’s profile, consider how each individual:

  • Translates information
  • Accomplishes key tasks
  • Interacts with others
  • Influences others
  • Reacts to change

Eight Common Individual Behaviors to Consider When Assessing a Team

DriverOften takes control of situations
Constantly pushing for results
Sometimes individual goals dominate situations
TacticianSkilled at planning
Linear in thought process
Enjoys the role of gatekeeper
Often completes deliverables ahead of schedule
AnalyzerRequires information and data to make decisions
Focuses on details
Often overanalyzes things
OptimistOften positive about things
Usually expects a favorable outcome
CreativeSeeks alternative ideas
Does not pay much attention to detail
Characterized by originality and expressiveness
ProcrastinatorOften waits until the last minute to complete deliverables/tasks
Hesitates in diving in due to fear of failure
Works well under pressure
CautiousRisk adverse
Calls for caution and is often critical
Tentative or restrained
AvoiderStays clear of confrontation
Avoids difficult or challenging discussions

This work in assessing members may feel like an extra step in the team building process, but it is actually a critical part of establishing a solid foundation for the project. A complete assessment can help the team to avoid overlaps and gaps, resulting in unintentional work duplication or catchup efforts, which in turn can cause decreased moral and increased conflict amongst the team.

Developing your team’s profile is a proven tool for successfully managing a continuous improvement project.

For any questions about the the team building process, or Lean Six Sigma training, please contact Acuity to set up a call.