The secrets to building a dream team: a simple recipe for Project Managers

Andrew Filev, seasoned software entrepreneur and CEO at Wrike, shares a “recipe” of building a dream team that might be helpful for any organization “cuisine”.

When you have a new project in front of you, one of your primary concerns is how to get the best possible people on board. Building a dream team is a lot like baking the most exquisite pastry. It requires the finest ingredients (talented team members), quite a lot of time in the kitchen (diligent managerial process) and a skillful chef. And while every chef might have his own vision of a perfect recipe, we put together some common guidelines that might be helpful for any organizational “cuisine”.

Make a shopping list

It’s hard to start baking without a clear image of the future cake in your head, isn’t it? Likewise, in business reality you first need to have a clear understanding of your project’s goals and then define the roles and skills required to achieve them. You also need to be pretty specific about the profile of a resource that you want on your team. Every chef knows: a dish that can benefit from a pinch of Parmesan can be ruined by the same amount of Roquefort.

Get the ingredients

Once you figured out what roles you need, it’s time you acquire the right talent. In your search, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Pick the ingredients you like

Make sure you pay attention not only to professional competency, but also to the personal qualities of a potential team member. You’ll spend a lot of time together, so the more your personalities match – the better. However, try to stay open-minded and don’t judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the quirky candidates that lack college credentials turn out to be a future Steve Jobs or Michael Dell.

  • Scout broad, when you need to

The fact that your superstar employee is on the other side of the globe shouldn’t stop you from getting him or her on your project. Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk, neatly summed up the benefits of virtual collaboration: it saves thousands of dollars, improves productivity, has sustainability benefits and helps attract the A-class team members who value freedom. With the added benefit of good project collaboration software on hand you won’t even notice you’re not in the same office.

  • Keep it balanced

You don’t want your pie to be too salty, nor too sweet. In the organizational kitchen, this means you need to keep the composition of your team balanced. For instance, a mathematical modeling study of Northwestern University found that the most efficient teams contain a mix of veterans and rookies. And according to a Forbes study, 85 percent of employees say diversity is crucial for gaining the perspectives and ideas that foster innovation.  

Start cooking

Henry Ford wisely noticed that “coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.” Getting the right talent in place is just the beginning of the journey. The next big part is connecting them into a team:

  • Mix the dough

Organize a kickoff meeting to introduce the team members to each other, pay special attention to getting them plugged-in to the organization/project vision. As Jim Collins, the author of classic leadership books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last”, says “The number one responsibility of a leader is to catalyze a clear and shared vision for the company and to secure a commitment to and vigorous pursuit of that vision.”

  • Let it rise

Once your team is on board, one of your continuous priorities as a leader is to foster their productivity and professional growth. Don’t limit them by the area of their direct competency: your team members’ hidden talents may become apparent once you give them a chance to try out different roles.

  • Take care of the filling

Create a productive and friendly atmosphere. Some believe the dream team is about trust, being open to discussion and arguments. Others, like Sir Richard Branson, the famous founder of Virgin Group, points out another essential component of corporate culture – Fun. It’s up to you what methods would work best for your team’s bonding.

  • Keep the light in the oven on

A good chef always keeps an eye on his pie but never opens an oven without need. Keep track of your team’s work progress, but don’t be too intrusive. A new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that people who believe they are being watched too closely sometimes perform at a lower level. So keep your finger on the pulse of the project, be there to help them solve any arising issues, reallocate resources or add extra motivation, but make sure you don’t cross the line that separates project management and leadership from micromanagement.

A popular Canadian culinary author Madame Benoit once said: “I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.” Likewise, don’t be afraid to add a pinch of imagination to your dream team recipe and adjust it to your current goals and needs. If you maintain a motivating environment, give timely feedback and recognize the contribution of every team member – you can create the most delicious dream team.

And now a little quiz for the chefs: what is your secret ingredient for creating a dream team?

About Andrew Filev

Andrew Filev is the founder and CEO of Wrike, provider of popular project management software. He is a seasoned software entrepreneur, project and product manager, and advisor to several fast-growing ventures.

7 Responses to The secrets to building a dream team: a simple recipe for Project Managers
  1. Diego Santiago
    May 31, 2013 | 5:45 pm

    I love you blog and this post. Congrats.

    One important point to watch is: when you have a limited human resource choice sometimes you must pick less of “the ingredients you like” and try to understand what is the better “filling” to your dish accordingly to them.

    Do you agree with that? Hugs.

    • samad_aidane
      May 31, 2013 | 9:48 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. I like your insight and I agree. Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

  2. Susan
    June 1, 2013 | 7:45 pm

    As a sales manager, I find that personality matters a lot. Opposites attract is not a good analogy when it comes to a good working relationship.

  3. […] Probably the best team manager in the Marvel universe, Professor Charles Xavier, didn’t only build a famous X-team, but also created a school where he helped gifted youngsters safely develop their powers. As a team leader, it’s one of your priorities to foster and improve your team member’s talents and skills. After all, this is the way to building a dream superhero team.   […]

  4. Alison Coward
    June 4, 2013 | 11:56 am

    This is a great article – very insightful! And I’m pleased it matches somewhat to the process we use over at Bracket. I wrote about it here: http://bit.ly/Ygp6wL. Would love to know what you think.

    • samad_aidane
      June 4, 2013 | 12:13 pm

      Thank you Alison. I like the concept of “Collaboration Catalyst” in your article. I see the Project Manager playing this role and mastering the art of collaboration. I often refer to Project Managers as “Collaboration Engineers”. Very good article.

  5. […] how to create the perfect team for your projects, look no further than Andrew Filev‘s article The Secrets to Building a Dream Team: A Simple Recipe for Project Managers,  which can be read at guerillaprojectmangement.com.  That’s all for today – enjoy […]

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Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/secrets-of-building-dream-team-a-simple-recipe-for-project-managers/trackback

The secrets to building a dream team: a simple recipe for Project Managers

Andrew Filev, seasoned software entrepreneur and CEO at Wrike, shares a “recipe” of building a dream team that might be helpful for any organization “cuisine”.

When you have a new project in front of you, one of your primary concerns is how to get the best possible people on board. Building a dream team is a lot like baking the most exquisite pastry. It requires the finest ingredients (talented team members), quite a lot of time in the kitchen (diligent managerial process) and a skillful chef. And while every chef might have his own vision of a perfect recipe, we put together some common guidelines that might be helpful for any organizational “cuisine”.

Make a shopping list

It’s hard to start baking without a clear image of the future cake in your head, isn’t it? Likewise, in business reality you first need to have a clear understanding of your project’s goals and then define the roles and skills required to achieve them. You also need to be pretty specific about the profile of a resource that you want on your team. Every chef knows: a dish that can benefit from a pinch of Parmesan can be ruined by the same amount of Roquefort.

Get the ingredients

Once you figured out what roles you need, it’s time you acquire the right talent. In your search, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Pick the ingredients you like

Make sure you pay attention not only to professional competency, but also to the personal qualities of a potential team member. You’ll spend a lot of time together, so the more your personalities match – the better. However, try to stay open-minded and don’t judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the quirky candidates that lack college credentials turn out to be a future Steve Jobs or Michael Dell.

  • Scout broad, when you need to

The fact that your superstar employee is on the other side of the globe shouldn’t stop you from getting him or her on your project. Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk, neatly summed up the benefits of virtual collaboration: it saves thousands of dollars, improves productivity, has sustainability benefits and helps attract the A-class team members who value freedom. With the added benefit of good project collaboration software on hand you won’t even notice you’re not in the same office.

  • Keep it balanced

You don’t want your pie to be too salty, nor too sweet. In the organizational kitchen, this means you need to keep the composition of your team balanced. For instance, a mathematical modeling study of Northwestern University found that the most efficient teams contain a mix of veterans and rookies. And according to a Forbes study, 85 percent of employees say diversity is crucial for gaining the perspectives and ideas that foster innovation.  

Start cooking

Henry Ford wisely noticed that “coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.” Getting the right talent in place is just the beginning of the journey. The next big part is connecting them into a team:

  • Mix the dough

Organize a kickoff meeting to introduce the team members to each other, pay special attention to getting them plugged-in to the organization/project vision. As Jim Collins, the author of classic leadership books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last”, says “The number one responsibility of a leader is to catalyze a clear and shared vision for the company and to secure a commitment to and vigorous pursuit of that vision.”

  • Let it rise

Once your team is on board, one of your continuous priorities as a leader is to foster their productivity and professional growth. Don’t limit them by the area of their direct competency: your team members’ hidden talents may become apparent once you give them a chance to try out different roles.

  • Take care of the filling

Create a productive and friendly atmosphere. Some believe the dream team is about trust, being open to discussion and arguments. Others, like Sir Richard Branson, the famous founder of Virgin Group, points out another essential component of corporate culture – Fun. It’s up to you what methods would work best for your team’s bonding.

  • Keep the light in the oven on

A good chef always keeps an eye on his pie but never opens an oven without need. Keep track of your team’s work progress, but don’t be too intrusive. A new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that people who believe they are being watched too closely sometimes perform at a lower level. So keep your finger on the pulse of the project, be there to help them solve any arising issues, reallocate resources or add extra motivation, but make sure you don’t cross the line that separates project management and leadership from micromanagement.

A popular Canadian culinary author Madame Benoit once said: “I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.” Likewise, don’t be afraid to add a pinch of imagination to your dream team recipe and adjust it to your current goals and needs. If you maintain a motivating environment, give timely feedback and recognize the contribution of every team member – you can create the most delicious dream team.

And now a little quiz for the chefs: what is your secret ingredient for creating a dream team?

About Andrew Filev

Andrew Filev is the founder and CEO of Wrike, provider of popular project management software. He is a seasoned software entrepreneur, project and product manager, and advisor to several fast-growing ventures.

7 Responses to The secrets to building a dream team: a simple recipe for Project Managers
  1. Diego Santiago
    May 31, 2013 | 5:45 pm

    I love you blog and this post. Congrats.

    One important point to watch is: when you have a limited human resource choice sometimes you must pick less of “the ingredients you like” and try to understand what is the better “filling” to your dish accordingly to them.

    Do you agree with that? Hugs.

    • samad_aidane
      May 31, 2013 | 9:48 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. I like your insight and I agree. Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

  2. Susan
    June 1, 2013 | 7:45 pm

    As a sales manager, I find that personality matters a lot. Opposites attract is not a good analogy when it comes to a good working relationship.

  3. […] Probably the best team manager in the Marvel universe, Professor Charles Xavier, didn’t only build a famous X-team, but also created a school where he helped gifted youngsters safely develop their powers. As a team leader, it’s one of your priorities to foster and improve your team member’s talents and skills. After all, this is the way to building a dream superhero team.   […]

  4. Alison Coward
    June 4, 2013 | 11:56 am

    This is a great article – very insightful! And I’m pleased it matches somewhat to the process we use over at Bracket. I wrote about it here: http://bit.ly/Ygp6wL. Would love to know what you think.

    • samad_aidane
      June 4, 2013 | 12:13 pm

      Thank you Alison. I like the concept of “Collaboration Catalyst” in your article. I see the Project Manager playing this role and mastering the art of collaboration. I often refer to Project Managers as “Collaboration Engineers”. Very good article.

  5. […] how to create the perfect team for your projects, look no further than Andrew Filev‘s article The Secrets to Building a Dream Team: A Simple Recipe for Project Managers,  which can be read at guerillaprojectmangement.com.  That’s all for today – enjoy […]

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/secrets-of-building-dream-team-a-simple-recipe-for-project-managers/trackback

The secrets to building a dream team: a simple recipe for Project Managers

Andrew Filev, seasoned software entrepreneur and CEO at Wrike, shares a “recipe” of building a dream team that might be helpful for any organization “cuisine”.

When you have a new project in front of you, one of your primary concerns is how to get the best possible people on board. Building a dream team is a lot like baking the most exquisite pastry. It requires the finest ingredients (talented team members), quite a lot of time in the kitchen (diligent managerial process) and a skillful chef. And while every chef might have his own vision of a perfect recipe, we put together some common guidelines that might be helpful for any organizational “cuisine”.

Make a shopping list

It’s hard to start baking without a clear image of the future cake in your head, isn’t it? Likewise, in business reality you first need to have a clear understanding of your project’s goals and then define the roles and skills required to achieve them. You also need to be pretty specific about the profile of a resource that you want on your team. Every chef knows: a dish that can benefit from a pinch of Parmesan can be ruined by the same amount of Roquefort.

Get the ingredients

Once you figured out what roles you need, it’s time you acquire the right talent. In your search, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Pick the ingredients you like

Make sure you pay attention not only to professional competency, but also to the personal qualities of a potential team member. You’ll spend a lot of time together, so the more your personalities match – the better. However, try to stay open-minded and don’t judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the quirky candidates that lack college credentials turn out to be a future Steve Jobs or Michael Dell.

  • Scout broad, when you need to

The fact that your superstar employee is on the other side of the globe shouldn’t stop you from getting him or her on your project. Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk, neatly summed up the benefits of virtual collaboration: it saves thousands of dollars, improves productivity, has sustainability benefits and helps attract the A-class team members who value freedom. With the added benefit of good project collaboration software on hand you won’t even notice you’re not in the same office.

  • Keep it balanced

You don’t want your pie to be too salty, nor too sweet. In the organizational kitchen, this means you need to keep the composition of your team balanced. For instance, a mathematical modeling study of Northwestern University found that the most efficient teams contain a mix of veterans and rookies. And according to a Forbes study, 85 percent of employees say diversity is crucial for gaining the perspectives and ideas that foster innovation.  

Start cooking

Henry Ford wisely noticed that “coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.” Getting the right talent in place is just the beginning of the journey. The next big part is connecting them into a team:

  • Mix the dough

Organize a kickoff meeting to introduce the team members to each other, pay special attention to getting them plugged-in to the organization/project vision. As Jim Collins, the author of classic leadership books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last”, says “The number one responsibility of a leader is to catalyze a clear and shared vision for the company and to secure a commitment to and vigorous pursuit of that vision.”

  • Let it rise

Once your team is on board, one of your continuous priorities as a leader is to foster their productivity and professional growth. Don’t limit them by the area of their direct competency: your team members’ hidden talents may become apparent once you give them a chance to try out different roles.

  • Take care of the filling

Create a productive and friendly atmosphere. Some believe the dream team is about trust, being open to discussion and arguments. Others, like Sir Richard Branson, the famous founder of Virgin Group, points out another essential component of corporate culture – Fun. It’s up to you what methods would work best for your team’s bonding.

  • Keep the light in the oven on

A good chef always keeps an eye on his pie but never opens an oven without need. Keep track of your team’s work progress, but don’t be too intrusive. A new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that people who believe they are being watched too closely sometimes perform at a lower level. So keep your finger on the pulse of the project, be there to help them solve any arising issues, reallocate resources or add extra motivation, but make sure you don’t cross the line that separates project management and leadership from micromanagement.

A popular Canadian culinary author Madame Benoit once said: “I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.” Likewise, don’t be afraid to add a pinch of imagination to your dream team recipe and adjust it to your current goals and needs. If you maintain a motivating environment, give timely feedback and recognize the contribution of every team member – you can create the most delicious dream team.

And now a little quiz for the chefs: what is your secret ingredient for creating a dream team?

About Andrew Filev

Andrew Filev is the founder and CEO of Wrike, provider of popular project management software. He is a seasoned software entrepreneur, project and product manager, and advisor to several fast-growing ventures.

7 Responses to The secrets to building a dream team: a simple recipe for Project Managers
  1. Diego Santiago
    May 31, 2013 | 5:45 pm

    I love you blog and this post. Congrats.

    One important point to watch is: when you have a limited human resource choice sometimes you must pick less of “the ingredients you like” and try to understand what is the better “filling” to your dish accordingly to them.

    Do you agree with that? Hugs.

    • samad_aidane
      May 31, 2013 | 9:48 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. I like your insight and I agree. Thank you for taking the time to contribute.

  2. Susan
    June 1, 2013 | 7:45 pm

    As a sales manager, I find that personality matters a lot. Opposites attract is not a good analogy when it comes to a good working relationship.

  3. […] Probably the best team manager in the Marvel universe, Professor Charles Xavier, didn’t only build a famous X-team, but also created a school where he helped gifted youngsters safely develop their powers. As a team leader, it’s one of your priorities to foster and improve your team member’s talents and skills. After all, this is the way to building a dream superhero team.   […]

  4. Alison Coward
    June 4, 2013 | 11:56 am

    This is a great article – very insightful! And I’m pleased it matches somewhat to the process we use over at Bracket. I wrote about it here: http://bit.ly/Ygp6wL. Would love to know what you think.

    • samad_aidane
      June 4, 2013 | 12:13 pm

      Thank you Alison. I like the concept of “Collaboration Catalyst” in your article. I see the Project Manager playing this role and mastering the art of collaboration. I often refer to Project Managers as “Collaboration Engineers”. Very good article.

  5. […] how to create the perfect team for your projects, look no further than Andrew Filev‘s article The Secrets to Building a Dream Team: A Simple Recipe for Project Managers,  which can be read at guerillaprojectmangement.com.  That’s all for today – enjoy […]

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