The understanding of barriers to project team building can help in developing an environment conducive to effective teamwork. The following barriers are typical for many project environments.
Differing outlooks, priorities, and interests.
Project objectives/outcomes not clear.
Dynamic project environment.
Competition over team leadership.
Lack of team definition and structure.
Team personnel selection.
Credibility of project leader.
Lack of team member commitment.
Poor communication exists on four major levels:
Problem of communication between team members
Between project leader and the team members
Between the project team and top management
Between the project leaders and the client
Lack of senior management support.
Effective project communication is needed to ensure that we get the right information to the right person at the right time using the right media and the right format and in a cost-effective manner.
Screens or Barriers:
The screens or barriers are from one’s perception, personality, attitudes, emotions, and prejudices.
Perception barriers occur because individuals can view the same message in different ways. Factors influencing perception include the individual’s level of education and region of experience. Perception problems can be minimized by using words that have precise meaning.
Personality and interests, such as the likes and dislikes of individuals, affect communications. People tend to listen carefully to topics of interest but turn deaf ear to unfamiliar or boring topics.
Attitude, emotions, and prejudices warp our sense of interpretation. Individuals who are fearful or have strong love or hate emotions will tend to protect themselves by distorting the communication process. Strong emotions rob individuals of their ability to comprehend.
Determining the Number of Communications Channels:
As the number of people involved increases, the complexity of communications increases because there are more communications channels or pathways through which people can communicate.
Number of communications channels = n (n-1)
where n is the number of people involved.
Breakdown in Communication:
When a breakdown in communication occurs, disaster follows.
A project manager may very well spend 90 percent or more of his time communicating.
Communication is also listening:
Good project managers must be willing to listen to their employees. The advantages of listening properly are that:
Subordinates know you are sincerely interested
You obtain feedback
Employee acceptance is fostered
The successful manager must be willing to listen to an individual’s story from beginning to end, without interruptions, and to see problem through the eyes of the subordinate.
Finally, before making a decision, that manager should ask the subordinate for his solutions to the problem.
Three important conclusions can be drawn about communications:
Don’t assume that the message you sent will be received in the form you sent it.
The swiftest and most effective communications take place among people with common points of view. The manager who fosters good relationships with his associates will have little difficulty in communicating with them.
Communications must be established early in the project.