The AMA Handbook of Project Management

By Paul C. Dinsmore; Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12A
Studies in Project Human Resource Management
Team Building and Interpersonal Skills

PAUL C. DINSMORE, PMP, DINSMORE ASSOCIATES

Teamwork means people cooperating to meet common goals. That includes all types of people doing work that calls for joint effort and exchange of information, ideas, and opinions. In teamwork, productivity is increased through synergy: the magic that appears when team members generate new ways for getting things done and that special spirit for making them happen.

Lessons can be drawn from nature regarding collective effort for get things done: bees and ants perform amazing tasks as they work in seemingly chaotic unison to achieve their community goals; lions and other predators often hunt jointly to increase the sometimes poor odds against their speedy and nimble prey; and whales parade around in circles to corral schools of fish, who in turn try to elude their marine predators by flashing back and forth in darting schools. In the case of these creatures, working together is about survival. They have learned to do it over the ages and these practices are imbedded in their DNA.

While human beings have evolved over the ages as well and have developed ways of working together, both in times of war and in peace, because of the incredible complexity of the human creature, survival-based teamwork is not as inherent as in the case of nonhuman creatures. This means that the capability of working together for teams of humans has to be developed in each new situation and must adapt to the galloping changes that mankind insists on developing. One of those changes involves the relationship of time and place of team members.

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