Jul 19, 2011

How to Develop a Good Project Team

"Nadeshiko Japan", the Japanese women's national football team, had quite tough games against Germany and the U.S. and beat them, and finally they won the FIFA Women's World Cup.

"Nadeshiko Japan" was a really good team. They were mentally and physically tough and every player didn't give up in a corner at all and always was trying to do her best to win the game.

They had the absolute leading striker and the leader of the team, Homare Sawa, but the other member of the team didn't depend on her completely and they were independent and collaborative at the same time. The head coach, Norio Sasaki wasn't authoritative but always smiling on the sideline of the field.

It's quite difficult to develop such a team in Japan (maybe anywhere all over the world). If a head coach tries to unify their team, they tend to be authoritative and the members of their team tend to loose their independence. On the other hand if the head coach emphasize the member's independence, their team tend to lack a sense of unity.

The Japanese men's national football team in 2002 FIFA World Cup was the former. The head coach, Philippe Troussier, was quite authoritative and killed the individuality of the member of his team. The Japanese national team in 2006 was the latter. The head coach, Zico, depended on the leading player, Hidetoshi Nakata, too much, and his team broke down and loose their will to win.

I'm assigned to PMO (Project Management Office) in my company. The mission of PMO is to support project managers in succeeding their projects. I'm now thinking about how to develop a good project team. "Nadeshiko Japan" is a really good example for me.

In order to create a good output, we should assign professionals to our project team. Professionals have their own opinions and belief, so it's natural that conflicts of opinions happen. Sometimes emotional oppositions happen, too. I think that arranging such conflicts and oppositions isn't important but developing a good project team with such conflicts and oppositions is important.

I think that the key factor of success is that all of the members of the project team share a common significant goal and they deeply believe in it. "Nadeshiko Japan" shared the goal of winning the World Cup and making women's football a major sport in Japan, and they believed in them, so they did never give up and strongly held together. Now many Japanese girls are applying membership to football teams. They realized their goal by themselves.

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