Team Development

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Developed by Sarantis Pavlidis



There are various definitions of what a team is about. However, one of the most well-known is the one given by Katzenbach and Smith (1993) [1] according to which the team is a small number of people with complementary skills - talents dedicated to a common purpose, a set of performance objectives and an approach for which are mutually responsible. This definition is an extension of the definition given by Adair (1986) [2] as the responsibility of the members added at the latest's data. An important feature of the teams added by Mankin, Cohen and Bikson (1996) [3] is the interdependence of individual's activities, as the work of each member is dependent on the work of at least some other's members. Larson and LaFasto (1989) [4] also emphasized that the core element of the team is also the coordination of the activities of its members, which is necessary to achieve the objectives. Even earlier, Francis and Young (1979) [5] had spoken of an active set of people who are dedicated to achieving common goals, working successfully together and producing high quality results whilst taking pleasure through it. An advanced definition is also given by Kur (1996) [6] who examined the team as an open, goal-oriented , socio-technical system in a tension state between change and stability.

In addition, Team Development is a method for developing a project team.[7] It refers to a process and activities for improving team performance. This article focuses on people perspective as an aspect of project management and provides an overview of the stages of team development. Design of Team Development and how to manage team conflicts are also mentioned. Members of a project team can use the current article to identify the team structure, to understand the stages of developing a team or to deepen their knowledge of the subject. The model can be used in any industry where people are involved to perform teamwork in a project. For example in constructions, information technology, mechanical engineering, civil engineering etc. Effective collaboration is crucial to the success of a project.

Successful team

There are some objective criteria that characterize a successful team which works effectively and efficiently. There are eleven points which are consist of such a team [8] :

  • Relationship and work environment
  • Participation of members
  • Understand goals, accept and commit to them
  • Communication and information sharing
  • Addressing conflicts and disputes
  • Decision making
  • Evaluation of member's performance
  • Expression of emotions
  • Job sharing
  • Leadership
  • Knowledge of Operations

Benefits of using Teams

Reconciliation of employee's skills, qualifications and experience is necessary for a wider and more effectively confrontation of each problem, making the right decisions and find the optimal solutions for the business. As examined by Scholtes et al (1998) [9], the teams have advantages over individuals when:

  • the issue is more complex
  • creativity is required
  • the path is not clear
  • a more efficient use use of resources is required
  • quick learning is necessary
  • strong binding is desired
  • the process is cross-functional

The most frequently reported benefits for businesses using teams are [10] :

  • Increase Productivity
  • Improving communication and collaboration while removing corresponding barriers
  • Increase speed
  • Enhance creativity and innovation
  • Increasing employee dedication and satisfaction
  • Strengthening of customer-focused culture
  • Increasing organizational adaptability and flexibility
  • Improvements to quality
  • Decentralize responsibilities and create more flexible and level hierarchical structures.

These benefits, and especially the latter, are the result of the empowerment of the teams, the process through which they are given resources, power, information and the responsibility that a task requires [11].

Design and Development of Teams

Stages of Team Development

One factor that can particularly affect the effectiveness of a team is its maturity. In correspondence with the mature person, which evolves, improves and gains confidence and stability over time, so the teams mature at different rates. As most bibliographic sources agree,


  1. , Katzenbach J., Smith D., 1993, The Wisdom of Teams, Harvard Business School Press, United States of America, McKinsy & Company, Inc
  2. , Adair, J., 1986, Effective Team building, Gower, Aldershot
  3. , Mankin D., Cohen S., Bikson T., 1996, Teams & Technology, Harvard Business School Press, United States of America
  4. , Larson, C., LaFasto, F., 1989, Teamwork, Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA
  5. , Francis, D., Young D., 1979, Improving Work Groups. A Practical Manual for Teambuilding, University Associates, La Jolla, CA
  6. , Kur, E., 1996 The faces model of high performing team development, Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, 17, 1, 32-41
  7. Page 319, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) - Sixth Edition (2017) - Project Management Institute
  8. Thomas L. Quick,1992, "Successful Team Building" (The WorkSmart series), American Management Association, New York, AMACON.
  9. Scholtes P., Joiner B., Streibel B., 2003, The Team Handbook, Third Edition, Oriel Incorporated
  10. Recardo R., Wade D., 1996, Teams: Who needs them and why, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas
  11. Fisher K., 1993, Leading self-directed work teams: A guide to developing new team leadership skills, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
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