Leading successful teams 

 December 1, 2023

By  Dave Litten

Leading successful teams

PRINCE2 Leadership

Collaboration is when people from across the project ecosystem work together to achieve the project’s objectives.

Co-creation is a specific form of collaboration involving users and key influencers in the design of products and agreed ways of working to ensure the project and organizational ecosystems adopt them.

Leadership is motivating people to achieve a project’s objectives. This is best done on projects through collaboration across the project ecosystem, persuading, influencing, and co-creating with a focus on managing key relationships and seeking regular feedback to ensure team members remain aligned to the project’s objectives and agree to joint ways of working.

Management is instructing the execution of tasks per agreed ways of working. Co-creating ways of working with project team members (and stakeholders) significantly improve people’s willingness to be managed in line with them.

Projects are delivered by people in a temporary team, typically working across organizational boundaries, resulting in the people assigned to work on projects often have multiple reporting lines. This reporting line can be used by a part of the organization that has allocated the person to the project for a limited duration.

This can also be to a supplier’s organization where external people provide project skills and capabilities.

Sometimes, people with specific skills and abilities are assigned across multiple projects or are assigned to a project on a part-time basis. This creates reporting lines for various people.

To successfully lead a project team, it is essential to be aware of the following:

Although a project manager has formal authority within the tolerances set by the project board, the actual power structure that emerges in a project only sometimes reflects what has been formally agreed upon.

Due to the temporary nature of projects and the multiple reporting lines of people working on the project, project managers often rely on their ability to influence and motivate people through aligned interests and relational skills in addition to establishing the shared purpose of the project.

PRINCE2 defines roles that might not align with a person’s job title. Team members often have competing priorities for their time and attention, which may, at times, conflict with the needs of the project.

It is common for project team members to be more senior than the project manager, potentially causing hierarchical tension.
Some motivational factors may be outside of a project manager’s remit—for example, remuneration and career progression of project team members.

These factors mean project teams require a different style of management and leadership than that used for established business teams, as it can be more challenging for a temporary leader or manager to exercise their authority.

Dave Litten

David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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