Ideas That Matter: The Genome of Team Dynamic

Dear Friends,

It is Friday—here are some new insights that we hope to inspire and delight you…

My observations and other studies suggest that the inability to manage a project as a dynamic system of processes is one of the critical cause of project failure. Projects and the people who work in the projects are inter-related to other functions and processes in the firm’s ecosystems; their customers, partners, suppliers, competitors and stakeholders. Failure to manage the dynamics among these inter-related activities expose to unanticipated and potential risk. We describe these dynamics in a proposed Project DNA model later and hope to inspire some thought provoking ideas for project managers seeking to manage project success.

Execution and delivery of project deliverables create a paradox in most organizations. The simple, logical sequence for managing project is top down and sequential: determine the new business opportunity or identify gaps that need to be filled; select the appropriate project life-cycle management approach; adopt a product development life-cycle model; decide the major activities required to deliver the new product or service through developing the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The reality is that executing project to success is rarely that simple when it comes to actual delivery, for two key reasons:

  • Short-term gains against long-term value creation. Project results usually take longer time horizon to realize, and business as usual appears to get in the way since organizational culture value operation excellence, and manager’s performance is measured against quarterly profits.
  • Insufficient capacity management expertise. As mentioned earlier; projects and the people who work in the projects are inter-related to other functions and processes in the firm’s ecosystems, it is paramount for the project manager to ensure (s)he has the right level of skill sets and commitment working on the project through project completion.


The Paradox

These factors create paradox between project management and business as usual and lead to competing requirements on the overall capacity and resource management. The effect is a DNA- Quantum-Entanglement between long-term and short-term view. What is required is a pragmatic approach from the leadership that cultivate the organizational culture to achieve long term strategic change (project) harmonizing with the pressures of everyday business needs and the challenges of capacity and resource requirements.

The Genome of Team Dynamic

While mapping the genome has been a great advance in the field of biology and human health, we hope by developing a parallel model for team dynamic will help advancing the success of project and the profession of project management.

The following table illustrates such a propose working model:

DNA Why Who When What How
Long-Term View Create new value Leadership After Project Implementation

Strategic Goals:

  • Go global
  • Etc.

  • Single Purpose
  • Shared Goals & Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Cultural understanding
  • Emotional Quotient understanding
  • Communication process
  • Change Management process
Short-Term View Quarterly Profit Managers Business As usual Performance Metrics:

  • Sales
  • Etc.

  • Tactical Strategy
  • Repeatable Process

The Final Word

We cannot offer magic bullet, but we do believe we should share our observations and experience. We genuinely believe that a structured, holistic project management approach is the only way to deliver consistent project results, successful teams are built on clear goals, purpose and strategy and tactics. That including understanding the team dynamics and DNA in order to adapt to required changes over the life of the project.

Thanks for listening,

The VisualThinking team

P.S. Share your thoughts, questions, or ideas with us? We’re all listening!


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