An effective and balanced team has complementary skills, and the key to being a successful project manager is selecting the right people for your projects.
Every individual team member must bring something unique to the project, whether that is a specific expertise, or a psychological trait that is beneficial to the overall group dynamic. It is of course conducive if all team members get along well, however the critical factor for a successful project is that all team roles are interdependent and complementary.
Meredith Belbin, a renowned management theorist and researcher, analysed workplace environments and teamwork and concluded that most successful projects contained nine team roles. These nine roles can be grouped into three different categories: thought-oriented roles, action-oriented roles, and people-oriented roles.
Market Inspector UK created an infographic outlining each of these nine roles, and highlighted their respective strengths and allowable weaknesses.
By covering all nine roles you can ensure that your team members will fulfil all the necessary functions for a successful project, and balance each other out. For example, if you have a ‘plant’ that is an unbridled creative thinker and comes up with a plethora of innovative solutions, you will also have a ‘monitor evaluator’ that will strategically decide which option is most viable for the project and make that judgement call.
Belbin notes that not all teams require nine people, as one person can identify with up to three of the roles.