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Project Team Continuity

By Harland C. Lindsay, Director, Parkin Architects Limited, and Eba Raposo, Senior Associate, Parkin Architects Limited

Team continuity is a major contributor to delivery of a successful project. It relies heavily upon the selection of the “right” people at the outset of the project pursuit. Clients generally demand that the nominated team members will be the people with whom they will work, throughout the project. Sometimes change is unavoidable, but replacements involve submitting qualifications for client approval, which can sometimes lead to reduced client confidence. Substitution of team members can initially reduce the continuity of the team due changes in dynamics and further learning curves. The loss of a team member is a loss of some of the history of the project.

It is therefore important that not only must the proposed team meet the evaluation criteria, but each individual must be available to the project as needed to meet the project schedule.

Knowing the client and its representatives is an important factor in determining the best suited people for the project. A success factor for team continuity is team dynamics. Trust and respect within the team, as well as with the client are essential. Open lines of communication, personalities and work ethic are important. These create the synergy that determines success and progress. Good leadership, paired with determining strengths and weaknesses, facilitates the dynamics and progress. And, the greater the satisfaction experienced by each team member, the more cohesive, congruent and enduring will the team become.

Paramount to any client engagement are the project budget and schedule. In the initial stages of a project, fundamental information is exchanged and directions established. Team continuity means information continuity. Team continuity means “buy-in”, i.e., adherence to directions, such that confusion is minimized and team performance is enhanced. Team continuity builds a useful base for the next project where team members need no introduction to one another and lessons learned ensure superior execution.

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