How to build a winning project team

A project team doesn't fit together as easily as the pieces of a puzzle, and sometimes in-house resources and operational imperatives don't leave many options. Of course, you need to cover the functional requirements and have the essential knowledge of the processes involved, but here are a few additional elements to consider when putting together an effective team.

Having the right job profile

Should we favor certain personality types when working on an HRIS implementation project? Quinn's Competing Value Framework (1) emerged some 25 years ago in organizational effectiveness research. Recently, its concepts have gained in popularity among the HR community as a way of explaining why some work teams perform better than others. This is not restricted to HRIS implementations per se, but applies to the composition of all types of teams.

The tool consists of a behavioral test that positions people in four sections to understand the intrinsic values that motivate them.

Is it better to surround yourself with directive people who like to coordinate and control, or with creative people who prefer change? Should we opt instead for a resource with a sociable temperament to create harmony in the team and encourage exchanges, or someone who is a pro at organizing and setting up structures? Not easy, is it?

Personalities or technique?

Each personality type brings different dimensions to the team. Successful teams are made up of a variety of personality profiles. Apart from the fact that you'll need specific expertise in functional requirements such as human resources, payroll, finance, operations and others, selecting members with homogeneous personality types risks creating blind spots that could impact the success of the project.

The natural tendency is to give priority to people who are organized (blues), because they have a reputation for delivering results, and to people who are good at implementing control methods (reds), because change creates insecurity and their presence is reassuring.

These are necessary elements, but as these temperaments are Cartesian, the team will also benefit from the presence of creative people (the green ones), who will be able to imagine solutions to problems that will arise along the way. As for the collaborative profiles (the yellows), believe me, without their presence to cement the team and generate enthusiasm for the project, conflicts are likely to emerge and your change management will be more difficult at organizational level.

The ideal team is therefore a skilful blend of the four profile types, since all four dimensions are necessary for a project's success.

Keep the team small

Team size obviously varies according to the organizations' complexity, but it's generally more effective to have a relatively small team of a few people, and to add content experts on specific issues that are unique to them.

A resource with financial expertise, for example, will be required to align the design of the organizational structure with the reporting requirements at the beginning of a project involving payroll changes, but not necessarily on an ongoing basis. Instead, he or she will return at the end of the mandate to ensure compliance with general ledger entries.

How about experience? 

Resist the urge to select only your experienced people for your project. Their presence is certainly necessary, as a team made up entirely of recruits would entail major risks! However, an HRIS implementation project is a great opportunity to develop a few promising resources by enriching their tasks and giving them the visibility they need to shine. Variety is also an advantage : the tools used, the different communication modes and your change management will all be easier.

We are often witness to your difficulties and hesitations when putting together your project team. The temporary addition of external resources is one way of building a strong, multi-skilled team that covers all the bases. We can also relieve your people of some of their tasks, allowing them to focus on your HRIS implementation. Don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your requirements.


Nadine Tremblay, CRHA, Senior Director, HRIS practice and Client experience

Reference : Quinn et al. (2015, Competing Values Framework) 

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