Building an Effective Team

Creating a Productive and Efficient Group

Building an Effective Team

Learn how to put a great team together.

© iStockphoto/kycstudio

What comes to mind when you think about an effective team?

You might picture a team that works seamlessly as a whole.

Everyone brings unique talents and strengths to the table, no-one is playing politics or bickering, and there's just enough competitive spirit to bring out the best in everyone. Work gets done effectively, and everyone contributes to the team's goals.

It can be a challenge to reach this level of effectiveness if you're putting together a new team, or if you're developing an existing one.However, it's much easier if you have a plan in place.

This article highlights a common-sense, step-by-step process for building and maintaining an effective team.

Step 1: Analyze and Plan

Whether you've been tasked with setting up a new team, or you're taking over an existing one, begin by defining the goal of your team. What is its ultimate purpose? What are your expectations? How will your team contribute to your organization's goals and mission? Then create a Team Charter   to help clarify your team's objectives.

If you're in charge of an existing team, and you want to help it function more effectively, take our Team Effectiveness Assessment  . This quiz will help you understand the areas that you need to work on.

You can also conduct a DILO (Day in the Life Of) Analysis  . This helps you analyze your team's daily activity, to identify what people are actually doing with their time, resources, and energy. You'll also be able to spot problem areas, and this will help you think about how you'll improve your team's overall effectiveness.

If you're setting up a new team, or making significant changes to an existing team, you'll also want to define specific roles and tasks at this stage. Try to ensure that no tasks or responsibilities overlap unnecessarily between roles, as this could cause problems later on. (Techniques like Swim Lane Analysis   can help you analyze your processes and think about who does what.)


Before you start, it's helpful to understand how good your own management skills are. Our management skills quiz   will help you think about which areas you may need to improve.

Step 2: Get the Right People

Once you've defined your goals, and have identified the roles that you need fill, make a list of the type of people that you want on your team. What strengths should each person have? As well as technical ability, should they also bring...

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