Travis K. Anderson

Growing a project team depends on the contextual elements of the project. Is the project an aberrantly risky and highly visible project that if unsuccessful affects the safety of others or the organization as a whole? Then it is best to recruit a superstar team as a way to mitigate the risks of failure.

The prior situation is not a common situation. So given a typical government project environment as another situational type, I would agree that growing a team is the more optimal option. In today’s business environment, PMs inherit teams and have limited resources (direct and indirect dollars) to develop the team into superstars. Given the highly competitive nature of the government contracting industry, organizations have little choice other than to control indirect spending in order to remain competitive and protect shareholder value. So that means PMs need to be creative in how they obtain the means to develop staff A) as highly viable individuals; B) as optimally functional teams.

One way is to institute frequent half hour brown bags during lunch that touch on topics that will expand the individual(s) skills or the team as a whole. For virtual team members, provide a WebEx. Another option is to pick a key performer and personally invest time in the development of that individual. Then ask him/her to pay it forward. If your budget allows for tuition reimbursement, then invite team members to take advantage of that benefit.