Project teams and their role in organizational project management

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Cambridge Handbook of Organizational Project Management, 2017, pp. 200 - 214
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© Cambridge University Press 2017. Introduction Amy Edmondson, who is a prominent management researcher on teams, states that organizations are increasingly using teams to get more complex work done, deliver better organizational performance, and create a more engaging and satisfying work environment. Projects also rely on effective teamwork to deliver results. However, research in projects has been mostly focused on studying teams within a project and on differentiating team development in projects from their development in functional teams or “permanent organizations.” In this chapter, we look at teams from both a project perspective and a wider perspective by viewing their role in organizational project management and whether the relationship between project teams and functional teams needs to be reconsidered from an integration perspective. We touch upon the notion of cross-functional teams, which may become a necessity when you plan to integrate portfolio, program and/or project management teams with functional teams in an organization to deliver successful projects aligned to their strategy. We also present an analysis based on interviews with five experienced project managers on integrated teams, cross-functional teams, and how teams have evolved over a period of three decades from colocated teams to virtual, intergenerational and multicultural teams. We conclude with some ideas for further research into project teams from an OPM point of view. Aim of the Chapter The purpose of this chapter is therefore to understand the relationship between OPM and project teams through the lens of OPM and an illustrative case study on the changes or evolution in the management of project teams. The chapter is structured as follows. First, we define what we understand by a “team,” and then expand our discussion on project teams and their key characteristics; second, we outline the relationships between OPM and project teams; third, we present the results from an analysis of interviews with five experienced project managers from different sectors; fourth, we compare the results from the interviews with the literature; and finally, we conclude with some ideas on further research that can be conducted from an OPM perspective on teams. What Is a Team? Teams have existed for hundreds of years and have been the subject of countless books. The benefits teams offer to organizational effectiveness have been well recognized (Katzenbach & Smith, 1993).
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