3 primary ways project teams are changing

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, project teams have changed—and they continue to change—from the way they look to how they think and engage.

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Image: Shutterstock/Vadym Pastukh

Today's project teams are not what they used to be. Much has changed. These teams are evolving and adjusting to keep pace with the ever-changing internal and external events. This doesn't necessarily translate to being problematic—many silver linings result from three of the biggest ways project team transformation is taking place.

How project teams are changing

Project teams worldwide were thrown a curveball not too long ago, with the pandemic forever altering how they work, think, engage and how they're structured. While this upheaval created a significant amount of angst, it also sparked some long overdue and much-needed changes to reshape mindsets and behaviors. All of this provides a backdrop for positive shifts to occur. Here's what the project teams of today and tomorrow will look like.

SEE: If you're asking for more from your teams, you should ask the same of yourself (TechRepublic)

A new hybrid team structure

Almost 90% of organizations will be combining remote and onsite working, according to a new McKinsey survey of 100 executives across industries and geographies. Further, findings show that organizations with the most significant increases in productivity during the pandemic have embraced "small moments of engagement" among their employees. These moments include coaching, mentorship, idea sharing and coworking. Most organizations are training their team leaders for remote leadership by reimagining processes and rethinking how to best support their team members. Even the most prominent tech giants like Microsoft agree that hybrid workforces are the next big disruptor; they're paving a path in this direction for their 160,000+ employees.

Increased diversity

It's becoming increasingly clear that diversity delivers stakeholder value and an increased return on investment (ROI). With 88% of project leaders believing that team diversity increases project value, team structures are changing. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) findings, increasing diversity all comes down to attitude vs. action. Diversity "enables teams to get to better answers and better solutions," says Blair Taylor, diversity and inclusion consulting co-leader at PwC, Seattle, Washington, and former global chief HR officer at Starbucks. In one of his training sessions, Taylor recently reported that he conducted an exercise that proved the more diverse the group is, the better they perform. As we advance, if companies want top-performing teams, diversity will need to increase.

SEE: Project management: Develop the skills you need with this training (TechRepublic Academy)

Less groupthink; more ownership

Along with increasing hybrid teams and diversity comes some added benefits: decreased groupthink and increased ownership. Teams that continuously or unconsciously practice groupthink tend to make worse decisions and overlook potential pitfalls, which can have disastrous consequences for a business.

The more team members can bring their education, views and life experiences to work without being stifled, the more they can develop a greater sense of belonging and ownership. Diverse teams are far more likely to successfully troubleshoot complex problems and find opportunities that may have previously been hidden. Teams are changing and must continue to evolve. With a greater sense of ownership, they can achieve greater accountability, which ultimately leads to higher work quality, better team performance and increased stakeholder value.

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