3 Rules for Building High Performance Project Teams

Performance, performance, performance. Doing more with less. Making the most of what you are given. Meeting the needs of the project customer head-on.

Are you and your team doing these things every day on your project?

Your competition is, so you better be. But how? How do you get the most out of your team?3 Rules for Building High Performance Project Teams

How do you ensure they are performing at their individual best and at their best as a team?

What can you do as a project manager and fellow project team member to help get them to that level of cohesiveness and performance?

In my opinion – based on I how have managed project teams…both successfully and in failure…it comes down to three main concepts to get the most out of your teams… 

#1: Communication

The project manager who stays on top of project communication – keeping his team as up to date as possible – will likely also get the most out of his team.

When the team members become uncertain of project status or feel out of the loop, they tend to become disengaged and will start giving other work and other projects more attention than your project.

Keep regularly scheduled meetings happening no matter what is going on for the project and keep frequent communication going so that your team members always feel like they are all on the same page.

#2: Engagement

Communication is the main ingredient to ensuring that your project team is engaged and up to date. Another ingredient into the engagement concept is keeping their task list full.

Team members who are lacking things to do tend to become disengaged and direct their attention to other projects and other work they may need to do for their department manager. Don’t let that happen.

Modify the project schedule and tasks to ensure that while you have your team members assigned to the project, they are also at least partially busy assigned to current tasks that they are accountable to you, the project and the customer.

Keep them busy and needing to report on their tasks weekly – even if you have to get creative from time to time. It may be a deliverable review or some testing that you send their way, but make it happens to ensure they remain engaged.

#3: Empowerment

The empowered team – and individual team member – is more likely to own tasks, personalize project performance, and perform at their very best.

The keen project manager empowers his high performance project teams to make decisions that affect the work they are doing and the tasks they are assigned.

Of course, the PM needs to be tied into key decisions and important information and exchanges with the project client. And anything that may affect project scope needs to go through the project manager.

Empowered team members can make decisions and perform at their highest levels because they have the confidence to do so – and that is in part due to the fact that the best project managers have delegated authority to their skilled team.


It takes a confident, skilled and experienced project manager to stay in control of his project team and to continually get them to perform at the highest level.

You’ll surely hit bumps in the road, but if you ensure that you are communicating frequently, efficiently and effectively with them, that you are engaging them with assigned work throughout the project, and that you are empowering them to make decisions on the tasks that they own, then you’ll likely be getting their best from them.

How about our readers? What tips or tricks do you have for getting the most out of your project team as a whole and the team members individually? Please share and discuss.

Related Download: Facilitator’s Guide

The Standard Project Management Office (PMO) Status Update Meeting Facilitator Guide

This 10-page Facilitator’s PDF Guide includes: 

  • Step-by-Step Meeting Instructions 
  • Guide to Solving Problems
  • Links to Additional Resources