Project Management With High-Performance Work Teams: Analysis of Generic Competencies That Influence Collective Performance

Project Management With High-Performance Work Teams: Analysis of Generic Competencies That Influence Collective Performance

Nelson Antonio Moreno-Monsalve (Universidad EAN, Colombia), José Pablo Nuño de la Parra (Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, Mexico) and Sandra Marcela Delgado-Ortiz (Universidad EAN, Colombia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1934-9.ch001

Abstract

One of the factors that positively affect the objectives of a project is the performance level of the human talent that executes it. From the human point of view, a project can be defined as the action of a group of people focused towards achieving an outcome. This research work seeks to establish the general skills that a person who is part of a work high-performance team must have, that allow him or her to positively influence collective performance. A general skill describes the behavior and abilities of an individual, regardless of the degree of complexity that frames a job. This study was carried out with the support of 149 project managers from the Colombian software industry.
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Introduction

One of the factors that most strongly affect the success of a project is undoubtedly the quality of the human talent executing it. Selecting the right staff to form the project team is an essential factor in meeting the objectives that have been set (Charvat, 2003). Within the framework of the knowledge society, the formation of high-performance teams has become one of the most important challenges that have had to be assumed in the processes of organizational development (Uribe, Molina, Contreras, Barbosa, & Espinosa, 2013).

From the human point of view, a project can be defined as the action of a group of people focused towards achieving an outcome. This action leads to a solution in the form of product or service (Estay-Niculcar, 2007). Projects in today's business environments not only consider solutions to technical problems, but also a way to improve business, implement changes, and enhance business strategies (Kerzner, 2017).

For Gómez and Arboleda (2008), there is a marked difference between work groups and work teams. In the first instance, they define work group as a group of people gathered by a formal authority to transform resources. For their part, the members of a work team have complementary skills, common specific objectives, under a clear and formal work plan. On the other hand, Rincon and Zambrano (2008) define a work team as the union of two or more people to fulfill a specific job, which requires the effort, knowledge and participation of each of its members.

Work teams are formal groups that the organizations establish in order to facilitate problem solving and decision-making. The performance of the work teams depends to a large extent on the environment in which they are developed; it is also essential for their members to be in constant communication and to receive the necessary training conducive to solve the problems that are related to their actions (Espinoza & Zarazúa, 2000).

Alcover and Gil (1998) emphasize in their research that the main objective of forming a work team structure is to achieve greater efficiency in carrying out the various activities that may be planned, since these types of productive units prove to be more efficient in coping to the challenges of today's environment.

McMillan (2001) exalts the importance of willingness and cooperation among team members with respect to developing their work. It also describes six elements that characterize a high-performance team:

  • Common purpose: a work team has the potential to achieve exceptional performance when each of its members is identified with a common goal and is committed to its scope.

  • Clear Roles: a high-performance team clearly defines the roles that each of its members will play; this will allow designing, dividing, and deploying the work that has been planned. Collective efforts are the key to achieving synergistic results.

  • Accepted Leadership: high-performance teams need clear and competent leadership. The incompetence of the manager is the worst enemy of a project.

  • Effective processes: a high-performance work team must have clear action processes that allow them to achieve the goal that has been set.

  • Strong relationships: the diversity of skills, experience, and knowledge of the team members makes the levels of friendship to be limited.

  • Excellent communication: fast and decisive decision-making is a priority factor when competing. The structure by work teams allows improving the capacity of response, as long as there is a permanent communication between its members.

Espinoza and Zarazúa (2000) present seven characteristics that distinguish high performance teams: (1) commitment of the members towards shared goals and objectives. (2) Decision making by consensus. (3) Open and honest communication among team members. (4) Shared leadership. (5) Climate of cooperation, collaboration, trust, and support. (6) Valuation of people by their diversity, and (7) Recognition and positive resolution of the conflict.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Empowerment: It is the fact of delegating power and authority to subordinates and giving them the feeling that they own their own work.

Correlation: Statistical technique used to determine the relationship between two or more variables. They take a value between 0 and 1.

Project Management: This chapter takes the definition of the Project Management Institute , which is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities.

Sustainability: It refers to the capacity of a society and of nations to implement strategies that allow satisfying the necessities of humanity today, compromising neither resources nor the development of future generations.

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