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Maximizing the Value of Team Building Exercises
Team building exercises can provide value in project management, but companies are often concerned about the investment of time and staff that team building events can take. Fortunately, many team building exercises are rather easy and low-cost to implement, and can go a long way toward making your group not only work better as a team, but truly think as a team.
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The Role of the Project Manager
The project manager, since they are often the one most intimately involved with the goals and schedules of the project, is generally the organizer of any team building exercises. By taking both the needs of the project, and the needs of the team members into consideration, the project manager can successfully utilize team building exercises to keep the entire project running smoothly and on schedule.
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Effective Team Building Exercises for Newly Formed Teams
When a newly assembled team begins to work together, the team may consist of people from various departments who haven’t worked together before, and may not even know each other. Team building exercises that involve the entire group can give everybody some shared experiences, which will help them start thinking of themselves as a group.
An example of an activity that could be used involves dividing the team into groups and giving them an activity that demonstrates how everybody needs to work consistently together as a team. You can take a simple drawing, and cut it up into pieces, giving each team a piece. Then, after providing paper, pencils and rulers for measuring, instruct them to draw a copy of their piece, five times bigger than the original. When finished, assemble the pieces into one giant copy. This demonstrates how everybody has to work together, and follow the same instructions, in order for the end result to be a success.
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Effective Team Building Exercises Based on Project Goals
Designing team building exercises around some of the project goals will help the group work together to achieve those goals, while also helping to keep team morale high. Take the overall project goals, as well as intermediate project milestones into consideration when planning these exercises. For example, if you have an intermediate milestone deadline that might involve an after-hours work session, perhaps work with the team to help them organize a covered dish dinner. This will not only require your team to work together to plan the meal, and learn more about each other’s likes and dislikes, but it also effectively solves the problem of providing dinner for the group during the evening they are required to work late.
Activities like these, and other team building exercises, can not only help achieve project goals, but also keeping morale high, even during stressful portions of the project.