Managing Research Projects

Managing Research Projects

Operational Issues


Forming a ‘team’ 

Working in teams requires “less effort” than working alone" (West 1994).
  • Time spent creating the ‘best’ team and building team relations will pay dividends in the long term, with productive individual working and efficient team achievemen.
  • Lack of attention  to creating the best team and time to build good team working relations will result in poor working relations that will adversely affect individual team members, the team overall and may threaten the success in achieving the project’s goals.
  • Conflicting rather than harmonious working relationships may have farther reaching repercussions on future project work eg the allocation of funding for projects and/or effective team working.
  • Consider the following critical elements when forming a team :
    1. team members are clear about their roles and responsibilities
    2. members have the ability to complete their roles and responsibilities
    3. members agree to complete their roles and responsibilities
  • Use Tuckman’s model to generate interdependent team members.
  • Creating large teams will encounter more challenges than would be experienced with smaller teams, especially if team members are spread across different organisation or even in different countries.
  • Extra effort may be necessary to build and maintain an efficiently working team, but  benefits are more likely to result if differences between team members are recognised when creating the Project Plan and agreeing communication strategies.

Communication – strategy, diversity 

  • Identifying a clear Project Plan, that includes a communications strategy, early on in the project will provide an excellent basis from which to create a clear picture of what needs to be done, who is doing it and how it will be achieved.
This notion of shared purpose or shared vision is the defining element of teams at work" (West 1994). 
  • Without such a strategy there is likely to be an adverse effect on the project's successful completion. 
  • Without a team/project vision there will be lack of direction and the team overall and individual members in particular.
  • Establish an open and honest strategy for communication.
  • Create a Project Plan and agree communications strategies.
  • Generate action plans for each member based on the Project Plan.