Project Management – Teamwork (Part 3)

Hands raised

Team Diversity

A functional team has “inclusivity” built into it. Inclusivity means working with a team while accepting attributes of individual team members. Team members need to be conscious of the differences in age, race, gender, religion, language, etc. Each of these attributes are an inherent part of a person’s personality and identity, which makes it essential that people are accepted for who they are. Of course, this does not imply being okay with any sort of unprofessional behavior such as, being rude towards co-workers, being late to work/meetings, making excuses for not having completed deliverables, and not communicating in advance any limiting factors.

Diversity is one of the leading causes for conflicts amongst team members. As a PM it is essential to know the strengths and limitations of the team members and use it to the advantage of the project.

There are 4 dimensions to team diversity:

  • Personality: behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental traits of a person
  • Internal: primary dimensions such as age or ethnicity. Some organizations make a concerted effort to avoid discrimination on projects based on these dimensions.
  • External: secondary dimensions such as where we live and how we are brought up. It also includes life choices such as educations, jobs and careers.
  • Organizational: dimensions that relate to factors in the current work environment, such as seniority, salary, experience in the industry and management status.

Diversity Continuum

A project team will never be entirely diverse or entirely homogeneous, diversity falls along a continuum.


Knowing where the project team stands along the diversity continuum allows you to determine:

  • how well the team fills the necessary requirements of the project
  • to what degree organizational diversity will impact the team work environment
  • range of personal diversity there is among the team members

Team Performance

Measuring team performance means measuring how well the team performs compared to original expectations – implicit or explicit.  For a project different perspective of performance need to be balanced and there are always going to be trade-offs to consider. If we establish a clear set of expectations for success on the project, then we can define performance as how well we do against our expectations.

Note: there is a difference between successfully meeting a project deliverable, and performance of the team. For example, measuring deadline and budget gives an indication of whether or not the deliverable was met, but does not measure how the team performed.

Team performance can be measured by indicators such as:

  • team morale
  • interpersonal conflicts
  • meeting effectiveness
  • personal satisfaction levels

Individual performance in a team varies greatly.  Some team members produce a great deal of content towards the product deliverable, other team members may just facilitate parts of the project. We cannot apply the same performance measure for everyone, since the roles may vary greatly.

The team (as a group) produces overall better results than a single individual. It has more creativity and synergy among team members.

Some of the characteristics by which you can determine if a team is high performing are:

  • effectively balances resources
  • produces creative and innovative solutions to challenges
  • appreciates one another’s contributions
  • accomplishes project goals
  • adapts to changes on the project
  • respect fellow team members
  • help others in a collaborative fashion


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