Teamwork and project management
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Teamwork and Project Management. Karl A. Smith Engineering Education – Purdue University STEM Education Center/ Civil Eng - University of Minnesota [email protected] Engineers Leadership Institute Minnesota Society for Professional Engineers November 18, 2011.

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Teamwork and Project Management

Karl A. Smith

Engineering Education – Purdue University

STEM Education Center/ Civil Eng - University of Minnesota

[email protected]

Engineers Leadership Institute

Minnesota Society for

Professional Engineers

November 18, 2011

Teambuilding and Project Management Perspectives

  • Capitalizing on individual differences

  • Leading a team to consensus; the importance of buy-in

  • Expanding a team’s capabilities

  • Perspectives on the role of project manager

  • Key components to project and/or team success

  • Project coordination


What do you already know about Teamwork and Project Management?[Background Knowledge Survey]

  • What is your experience in teamwork and project management?

    • 1-3: limited experience (1) to very experienced (3)

  • What is your level of familiarity with project management tools and strategies?

    • 1-3: low (1) to high (3)

  • What do you feel are important considerations about teamwork and project management?

  • What are challenges you have faced with teamwork and project management?

What is a Project?

  • A project is a combination of human and nonhuman sources pulled together in a temporary organization to achieve a specified purpose. Cleland and Kerzner, 1985

  • A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), 2004

  • A project is a sequence of unique, complex, and connected activities that have one goal or purpose and that must be completed by a specific time, within budget, and according to specification. Wysocki, 2011.




The Project Management

Body of Knowledge is the

sum of knowledge within

the profession of project





Project Management – Agile/Adaptive


Types of Projects

  • On-going operations – Traditional Project Management – PMBOK

  • Innovation – Adaptive Project Framework – Wysocki


Types of Projects – Exploitation vs Exploration (March, 1991)

March, J.G. 1991. Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organizational Science, 2, 71-87

Explore - Exploit

  • James March (1991) Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning

  • Roger Martin (2010) Design of Business – Characteristics of exploration and exploitation, Table 1-1, p. 20

  • Govindarajan and Trimble (2010) The Other Side of Innovation, Key differences between typical planning processes for the Performance Engine and best practices for innovation, Table 4.1, p. 99

  • Scott Page (2010) Understanding Complexity – Lecture 5 Explore Exploit: The Fundamental Trade-Off

Percentage of Current Work that is Project Work


Number of Projects Currently Working On


Distribution Between Supporting Innovation and Supporting On-Going Operations


Percentage of Current Work that is Project Work


Number of Projects Currently Working On


Distribution Between Supporting Innovation and Supporting On-Going Operations


Developing Project Management Expertise

  • What is expertise?

  • What is project management expertise?

  • Why is this important?

  • How to develop expertise?


Expertise Implies:

  • a set of cognitive and metacognitive skills

  • an organized body of knowledge that is deep and contextualized

  • an ability to notice patterns of information in a new situation

  • flexibility in retrieving and applying that knowledge to a new problem


Bransford, Brown & Cocking. 1999. How people learn. National Academy Press.

Expert Project Managers

  • Take a moment to recall one of your expert project managers

  • Describe him or her briefly

  • Listen as others describe their expert project managers

  • List common characteristics


Characteristics of Expert Project Managers

  • ?


What is takes to be a good project manager

--Barry Posner (1987)

Communications (84% of the respondents listed it)



Organizational skills (75%)




Team Building Skills (72%)



Esprit de Corps

Leadership Skills (68%)

Sets Example


Vision (big picture)



Coping Skills (59%)





Technological Skills (46%)


Project Knowledge

Acquisition of ExpertiseFitts P, & Posner MI. Human Performance. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, 1967.

  • Cognition: Learn from instruction or observation what knowledge and actions are appropriate

  • Associative: Practice (with feedback) allowing smooth and accurate performance

  • Automaticity: “Compilation” or performance and associative sequences so that they can be done without large amounts of cognitive resources

“The secret of expertise is that there is no secret. It takes at least 10 years of concentrated effort to develop expertise.” Herbert Simon

Paradox of Expertise

  • The very knowledge we wish to teach others (as well as the knowledge we wish to represent in computer programs) often turns out to be the knowledge we are least able to talk about.


Teamwork and Project Management Exercise

Project Life Cycle

The engineering method is design under constraints – Wm. Wulf, President, National Academy of Engineering

The engineering method is the use of heuristics to cause the best change in a poorly understood situation within the available resources – Billy Koen, Mechanical Engineering Professor, UT-Austin, author Discussion of the Method


Design-Build Project

  • Teams of 3-4 – randomly assigned

  • Experience entire project life cycle in about 30 minutes

  • Goal is for all teams to meet the specification (design requirement)

  • Attend to both the task and the team work


Team Member Roles

  • Task Recorder

  • Process Recorder

  • Time Monitor

  • Materials Manager


Design objective

Design and build a tower at least 25 cm high that can support a stack of textbooks. The tower is built from index cards and office tape.

Design rules

Materials are 100 index cards and one roll of office tape

Cards can be folded but not torn

No piece of tape can be longer than 2 inches

Tower cannot be taped to the floor

Tower must be in one piece, and easily transported in one hand

Time to design and build: 15 minutes

Height is measured from the ground to the lowest corner of the book placed on top

Tower must support book for at least 10 seconds before the measurement is made

Room must be cleaned up before measurements are made.

Group Processing

Plus/Delta Format

Delta (∆)

Things Group Could Improve

Plus (+)

Things That Group Did Well

  • Teamwork & Project Management Heuristics--Examples

    • Identify the weak link and Allocate resources to the weak link

    • Freeze the design--at some stage in the project (when about 75% of the time or resources are used up) the design must be frozen

    • Discuss the process and ask meta-level questions, e.g., What are we doing? Why are we doing it? How does it help?





Wysocki & Rudd, Figure 2.8, page 47


What is a project?(Cleland and Kerzner, 1985; Nicholas, 1990)

  • … a combination of human and nonhuman sources pulled together in a temporary organization to achieve a specified purpose.

  • Features

    • Definable purpose with established goals

    • Cost, time and performance requirements

    • Multiple resources across organizational lines

    • One-time activity

    • Element of risk

    • Temporary activity

    • Process with phases/ project life cycle


Performance, Cost, and Time Project Targets



Project Success: Quadruple Constraint

Successful Projects

  • Take a moment to recall one of your most successful projects

  • Describe it briefly

  • Listen as others describe their successful projects

  • List common characteristics



  • ?


A recent survey of technology projects in the United States by the Project Management Institute reveals some startling percentages. Close to half of the projects started were never finished, 30% were completed but took at least twice as long as expected, some took 5 times as long. Only 10% of the projects were finished on time.

Standish Group Survey of Software Project – 1994 (Lewis, 2000, p. 109)

17% Succeeded

50% Revised

33% Failed

Critical Success Factors and Their Importance for System Implementation (Listed in decreasing order of correlation)

[Pinto (1986), See Smith (2004), p. 67]

1.Project mission. Initial clearly defined goals and general directions.

2.Top management support. Willingness of top management to provide the necessary resources and authority/power for implementation success.

3.Schedule plans. A detailed specification of the individual action steps for system implementation.

4.Client consultation. Communication, consultation, and active listening to all parties impacted by the proposed project.

5.Personnel. Recruitment, selection, and training of the necessary personnel for the implantation project team.

6.Technical tasks. Availability of the required technology and expertise to accomplish the specific technical action steps to bring the project on-line.

7.Client acceptance. The act of "selling" final product to its ultimate intended users.

8.Monitoring and feedback. Timely provision of comprehensive control information at each stage in the implementation process.

9.Communication. The provision of an appropriate network and necessary data to all key actors in the project implementation process.

10.Troubleshooting. Ability to handle unexpected crises and deviations from plan.

Top Ten Reasons Why Projects Succeed (Standish Group, 2000)

  • Executive management support

  • User involvement

  • Experienced project manager

  • Clear business objectives

  • Minimized scope

  • Standardized infrastructure

  • Firm basic requirements

  • Formal methodology

  • Reliable estimates

  • Skilled staff

Wysocki & Rudd, p. 34


Predictors of Lowered Project SuccessWilliam M. Hayden

  • Unrealistic project work plans

  • Inability to deal early with suspected problem issues

  • Technical complexities not well communicated to team members

  • Conflict between client expectations and the state of deliverables

  • Insufficient involvement on the part of senior management early in the life cycle

  • Session Summary

  • (Minute Paper)

  • Reflect on the session:

  • 1. Most interesting, valuable, useful thing you learned.

  • 2. Things that helped you learn.

  • 3. Comments, suggestions, etc

  • Pace: Too slow 1 . . . . 5 Too fast

  • Relevance: Little 1 . . . 5 Lots

  • Instructional Format: Ugh 1 . . . 5 Ah



ISE 5101 – Fall 2011 – Session 1

Q4 – Pace: Too slow 1 . . . . 5 Too fast (3.3)

Q5 – Relevance: Little 1 . . . 5 Lots (4.3)

Q6 – Format: Ugh 1 . . . 5 Ah (4.7)


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