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What are the characteristics dysfunctional teams?

Can an expert on this website list the most common characteristics of dysfunctional teams? (I may be managing one myself!)
asked 10 years ago by anonymous

1 Answer

The characteristics of dysfunctional teams were defined in a book called "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team", and they are:

- No commitment: I've seen this in a lot of team members, they're just not committed to the project. This non-commitment is usually the result of the following:
    - Jealous functional managers convincing their resources that the project they are working on is absolute garbage.
    - Team members don't believe in the technology being used.
    - Team members are not offered the choice to figure out solutions by themselves (they are being micro-managed)
    - Team members are not committed to the company as a whole (the company is not very good with its employees)
    - Team members know that they will not be affected by the outcome of the project, whether it's positive or negative.

- No accountability: A common quality in most team members, they don't accept constructive criticism about their work nor recognize their mistakes (which they always tend to blame on other workmates, the project manager, or even the programming language being used). I think the no accountability and the no commitment are highly related to each other.

- Avoiding conflicts: Imagine a team member who's tired of constant conflicts with others (the "others" may include you, the project manager), how is he going to behave? Is he going to be motivated, is he going to try to do his best on the project? Or, is he going to find a corner, sit there, and start working by himself, trying not to step into anther person's territory? Team members who avoid conflicts are completely demotivated, they do not give their best, and they do not communicate at all with other team members, which sometimes results in work done the wrong way, or subtasks done twice.

- Lack of trust: How can you expect someone to give his full potential if he doesn't trust you or if he doesn't trust the project he's working on. It's extremely important to build trust between you and your team members, and to give them the big vision about the project so that they trust it and trust its outcome (e.g. they will know that they're not working on something that will be shelved).

- No attention to results/lack of quality: If you go back in time a couple of decades, you will notice that back then, employees thought about the end result of their tasks, they cared about quality. They thought about the person who was going to use the feature they have developed. Nowadays, this is mostly no longer the case, most team members, probably because they are constantly stressed to finish their tasks on time, they completely ignore the whole quality checking process, and thus, in every project, you need a dedicated team just for testing.
answered 10 years ago by TheManager (6,220 points)

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