What Is a Formal Team?

Formal teams have three important elements: shared vision and purpose, diversity and mutual accountability. Each team member also has clearly defined functions, tasks and deliverables. The measure of a formal team?s success is how well it meets its goal and how well it works together.

Picking members for a team means understanding the range of components of assigned tasks. Just as a sports team has players who specialize in different functions, any team benefits by having members who have special skills to perform specific kinds of tasks. Given the scope of a particular project, team leaders should choose members from the widest pool possible. Diversity of skills and opinion lead to breakthroughs and insights that keep a project on time and on task. Further, in order maintain a balance of responsibilities, each team member produces a deliverable ? charts and graphs, lists of research sources, reports, or tables, for example ? that demonstrates his investment in the project and his special skills.

In order for teams to work with shared purpose, project managers and team leaders must sell their vision for a project to the team. Work groups are much more cohesive when everyone knows and agrees to the direction a project takes. This group vision helps keep members focused and allows them flexibility to examine new avenues for completing a project.