Project Team Skills
It is vital that the Project Team Skills are sufficient to deliver the tasks created in the Work Breakdown Structure. Checking the teams skills is part of the Organisation Breakdown Structure process, where we look at the people in the project rather than the tasks. Of course, the Project Manager needs skills as well.
Checking Project Team Skills
Ideally, the team will have produced the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as a team activity. This is a great chance for a Project Manager (Project Leader!) to see the team in action and start the process of team development.
Perhaps when developing the WBS the team indicated a lack of skills for some of the tasks. Changing the people in the project team is an option at this point.
However, in some cases the project manager will not have a choice of people in the project team. It all dependents on how the organisation is set up. In any case, the project manager should review the existing skills in the project team.
This is an opportunity for the project manager to consult with the Human Resources department concerning the skills in the project team members.
Many UK orgainisations are part of the Investors in People (IIP) initiative. One of the parts of gaining accreditation for this is to have some form of Skills Matrix or development plan for the staff.
A Skills Matrix indicates the required and existing skills for staff in different categories.
Developing Project Team Skills
We are principally talking about the technical skills required to deliver the tasks in the project. However, we should also consider the skills required to operate as a team – Team Building.
Projects are a team activity, and people deliver projects. Ensuring that the team develops is vital, especially for the efficient ‘handover’ between tasks.
If skill gaps are identified then some Personal Development is required. This may be organised by the Project Manager or Department manger depending on the Organisation Setup.
For short projects, there may not be the option to send staff on training courses (as time is critical). However, for longer projects, it is essential that skill development is planned, and absences due to training noted in the project schedule.
Informal Monitoring is one process that can help in identifying a lack of skills. People often exaggerate their skills, or underestimate the technical challenges in a new project.
Informal monitoring is essential to get to know the staff in the project team, and understand the real situation regarding their technical skills. In this way the project manager can consider the accuracy of project work, cost, and duration estimates.
A lack of skills can be accounted for in the difference between Work and Duration. Extra time can be allowed to account for the uncertainty of the technical abilities.
‘People Deliver Projects’ and all people are different. Some will overstate their abilities, and some understate them. Some people will want lots of development, and some may be comfortable in their current role and level of skills.