A Guide to Team Development

Team development1


1. What is a team?
2. Which is the team management model of the project?
3. How can you select the right team for your country project?
4. Which are the phases of a team's development?
5. How to begin with team building?
6. References
7. Useful links about teams

1. What is a team? And some others definitions (1)

Team: Two or more people working interdependently toward a common goal and a shared reward [WST]

Team Building: The ability to gather the right  people to join a project team and get them working together for the benefit of a project. [WST]

Team Building: The process of influencing a  group of diverse individuals, each with their own goals, needs, and perspectives, to work together effectively for the good of the project such that their team will accomplish more than the sum of their individual efforts could otherwise achieve. [PMK87]

Team Management: The direction of a group of individuals that work as a unit. Effective teams are results-oriented and are committed to project objectives, goals and strategies. [PMDT]

Teamwork Work : done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole. [Webster]

Role: Set of expected behaviour patterns that are attributed to occupying a given position in a social unit

Norms: Acceptable standards of behaviours within a group that are shared by group members. They tell members what they ought and ought no to do under certain circumstances. In the work environment the most important norms deal with performance related process.

2. Which is the team management model of the project?

Steering Committee:
Country Palliative Care Committee
Extended team of the Country Palliative Care Committee
A subregional Palliative Care Network

3. How can you select the right team for your country´s project?

Having the right core team can make or break a project. You better take care when selecting your team members. The elements to consider include:
3.1 Team size
3.2 Overall team composition
3.3 Team member selection and exclusion criteria
3.4 Process of member´s recluting

3.1 Team size
Recommended size is 3-12 members. Best 5-7 members.
Smaller teams (3 or 4 members) work faster and tend to produce results more quickly but they have smaller diversity.
Teams greater than 7 or 8 members require a more expert facilitation and often require subteams to be formed in order for the team to operate effectively. They have a potential for more ideas and diversity.

3.2 Overall team composition
A well-rounded team includes a mix of members of the relevant organizations involved in the project, with a mix of people experiences and skills. You need to consider members:
* Belonging to relevant partners organizations of the project.
* Members wih different abilities.
People with technical expertise and skills.
People with administrative skills (e.g. problem solving and decision making skills).
People with interpersonal and communication skills.

The team should include:
* some individuals who intimately understand the current palliative care services fron a public health wiew.
* some individuals who are technical experts in palliative care and actively participe in the palliative care services and work closely with customers/patients.
* some individuals who are completely objective toward the process and outcome of palliative care services (consultants).
* customers of the services (when possible).
* suppliers (those people who are laterally involved with the palliative care services)
* some individuals who are not familiar with the palliative care services (someone who brings a fresh perspective and outlook to the team) .

3.3 Team member selection and exclusion criteria
You need the "best and brightest" on your team, but even they must work well together for the project to succeed. When selecting team members, prefer persons who are:
* Interest and commitment with the common purpose: to improve the quality of life remaining for cancer and HIV/AIDS patients.
* Enthusiast.
* Optimist.
* Creative, flexible and open minded.
* Desire for self development and learning.
* Personal initiative, commitment, and accountability.
* Well respected among peers and other leaders.
* Good team player:
Work effectively as a member of a team.
Treat others' values, beliefs and opinions with respect.
Relate to and interact effectively with individuals and groups.
Willing to cooperate towards common goals.

It is also convenient to develop your “exclusion criteria” about team members.

3.4 How to reclute the best members for your team?

1. Having in mind the project goals and the above selection criteria.
2. Identify some relevant persons in the possible partner organization. Use the scheme in Figure 1.
3. Make informal contact with the selected people and/or anybody who knows them in order to explore if they fullfill the criteria. Include their interest in the project and time to integrate the project.
4. Decide if he/she is the right person with the preliminary information.
5. Invite the person to join the team.

Figure 1 Characteristics of possible team members

Organization Possible team member Position Potential area(s) of contribution to the team. Skills and technical knowledge-Resources


Possible team member


Potential area(s) of contribution to the team. Skills and technical knowledge-Resources


A team is a living entity. It progresses from early to mature phases, independent of the nature of the team or the task it must perform. There are four typical phases in team development (2):

4.1 Forming: Is the orientation period. The team is not sure what its task is and members are not well acquainted with each other, nor have they learned what sort of a team leader they have. Usually team members want to be told what to do.

4.2 Storming: Is the phase when team members feel more comfortable expressing their opinions. They may challenge the team leader's authority and recommendations. Some members may become dissatisfied and challenge not only what the team is to do and how it is doing it, but also the leader's role and style of leadership. Phase two is a sorting out period where each member begins to find his or her place as a team member.

4.3 Norming: Team members begin drawing upon their cumulative experiences for working out their problems and pulling together as a cohesive group. This process should result in the team establishing procedures for handling conflicts, decisions, and methods to accomplish the team projects.

4.4 Performing: In this phase the team has achieved some harmony, defined its tasks, worked out its relationships, and begins to produce results. Leadership is provided by the team members best suited for the task at hand. Members have learned how to work together, manage conflict, and contribute their resources to accomplishing the team's purposes.

4.5 Dissolving or reorientating when the team finished the project.

5. Team building

There are three main components in any team's work :
1. The task or content aspect.
2. The process aspect, comprising the team's interactions and how its members work together.
3. Time and other resources.

Teams, especially technical teams, frequently struggle more with process issues than with task issues. In fact, the problems of a team's internal interactions typically inhibit its ability to accomplish its tasks effectively. You can accelerate the norming phase, offering a norm proposal to the team for all to discuss and decide.

Characteristics of good team building

* Team is clear about goals and established targets
* Each team member is willing to contribute
* Team leader has good interpersonal skills and is committed to team approach
* High level of interdependence among team members
* Team develops a relaxed climate for communication
* Team members develop a mutual trust
* Team and individuals are prepared to take risks
* Team member roles are defined
* Team norms are defined
* Team members know how to examine team and individual errors without personal attacks
* Team has capacity to create new ideas
* Each team member knows he can influence the team agenda

Useful questions for team building

* What are our common vision, goals and established targets?
* What is our agreed-upon strategy?
* What is going to be our common process for working?
* What are the team roles and who will play them?
* What are the responsibilities for these roles?
* What are our team values that will guide how the team will work together?
* What are our norms about:
decision making
problem solving process
dealing with conflicts
communication, cooperation and responsibility
* Which is the time frame we have to achieve our goals?
* Etc.

Examples of helpful written norms
* Keeping discussion focused on the objective of the meeting.
* Start and end meetings on time.
* The mediator/facilitator has complete control over the process; the parties can make suggestions, but the mediator controls when and how much people speak.
* Allow one conversation at a time, no side conversations.
* Don't interrupt.
* Respect the views of all participants.
* Before evaluating a member's contribution, others check their assumptions to ensure they have properly understood.
* Each person speaks on his or her own behalf and lets others speak for themselves.
* Operate from the position of responsibility for our actions and results.
* Speak openly and honestly.
* Say what you mean and mean what you say? but preserve people's self-esteem.
* Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood (from Stephen Covey).
* Keep it constructive; focus on issues and behaviors, not personalities.
* Members can disagree without fear
* Everyone participates
* Call a time out if you need one.
* You always have three options: accept it, work to make it better, or leave. You don't have the right to complain if you're not willing to make it better.
* Communicate immediately if you think you may not be able to fulfill an agreement.
* When the group is not working well together it devotes time to finding out why and makes the necessary adjustments.
* Conflict is inevitable but will be managed and dealt with positively.

Useful document for team building: a team charter

A team charter is a written document that defines the team's mission, scope of operation, objectives, time frame, and consequences (3).
* The purpose statement.
This is a one or two line statement explaining why the team is being formed. The purpose statement should align with and support the organization's vision and mission statements.
* The objectives the team is expected to achieve, stated in measurable terms.
* The scope of the team's charter.
To define organizational or operational boundaries within which the team is expected and allowed to operated and information about the resources available to the team to accomplish its objectives. It might also speak about the time commitment expected of team members and the need to continue to support their day-to-day responsibilities.
* A section describing top management's support and commitment to the team.

Team Effectiveness

When evaluating how well team members are working together, the following statements can be used as a guide (4) :
* Clearly stated and commonly held vision and goals.
* Team goals are developed through a group process of team interaction and agreement in which each team member is willing to work toward achieving these goals.
* Leadership is distributed and shared among team members and individuals willingly to contribute their resources as needed.
* Participation is actively shown by all team members and roles are shared to facilitate the accomplishment of tasks and feelings of group togetherness.
* Feedback is asked for by members and freely given as a way of evaluating the team's performance and clarifying both feelings and interests of the team members. When feedback is given it is done with a desire to help the other person.
* Team decision making involves a process that encourages active participation by all members.
* Problem solving, discussing team issues, and assessing team effectiveness are encouraged by all team members.
* Conflict is not suppressed. Team members are allowed to express negative feelings and confrontation within the team which is managed and dealt with by team members. Dealing with and managing conflict is seen as a way to improve team performance.
* Team member resources, talents, skills, knowledge, and experiences are fully identified, recognized, and used whenever appropriate.
* Risk taking and creativity are encouraged. When mistakes are made, they are treated as a source of learning rather than reasons for punishment.
* Clear understanding of the team’s relationship to the greater organization
* The social environment a group is open and supportive, without authority directed problem solving.
* An underlying feeling that the team will be successful in accomplishing the goals they have set is an essential part of the social surrounding. (potency)
* The environment of the group is supportive, with a focus on learning. A variety of educational tools, including experts in the field should be readily available to assist the team in problem solving.
* Reward is given in a manner that promotes team cohesiveness. If given in the correct manner, they will likely increase potency, or the belief that the team will perform effectively in the future. Potency can be linked to various other factors including both internal factors (member skills and abilities) and external factors (reputation, resources, leadership).

6. References

1. Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms v2.0
Accessed 9/21/01
* PMDT: Cleland, D.I. & Harold Kerzner, A Project Management Dictionary of Terms
* PMK87: Various original authors quoted in Project Management Body of Knowledge Glossary of Terms, Project Management Institute 1987
* WST: Various original authors quoted in Welcom PM Glossary, Project Management Solutions, Internet: 1998

2. University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Nebraska Cooperative Extension CC351. Team Building: Organizing a Team.
URL Accessed 9/29/01

3.  Donald J. Bodwell. Team charter, 1996.
URL Accessed 9/21/01

4. Yancey M. Work Teams: Three Models of Effectiveness. CSWT Papers. Center for the Study of Work Teams. URL Accessed 9/21/01

7. Useful links about Teaming

CORE - R.O.I. , Inc.--Several articles on Teambuilding Topics and List of Links. http://COREROI.COM/guidgrop.htm

Glen Parker's Website -- Freebees -- Team building exercises, icebreakers, and more.

High Performance Team-- Team Concepts, Team Building, and Coaching High Performance Teams.

Partnerwerks’ Offices on the Web. Lybrary. Teams and leadership articles

Self Directed Work Teams Page-- Examples of Teams, info on Public Sector, Books and Periodicals, Videos, and Bibliographies.

Stages of Team Development--Review of team development including Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.

Team Management Systems--Research/Application Info, Discussion Forum, Case Studies/Articles, News, Bookstore, Links.

Team Technology--Information on the Myers Briggs, Articles, Teambuilding Info, Links to related sites.

TEAM Management Systems -- information, case-studies, free newsletter.

Teambuilding, Inc.--Info focused on employee involvement, Discussion Area, Articles, Bookstore, Links to related sites.

Wings Group: TeamZene--Articles on teaming issues. Home of Teamzene Free E-magazine.

1Document prepared by Dra. Inés Salas for PCC