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14 October 2007

Projects and Personalities

Which personality type are you?

Project teams are groups of people, and it’s good people that make projects succeed.

Sometimes you get to put the team together yourself, but usually at least some part of the team is handed to you. How do you make sure the team is optimised for best effectiveness when you can’t control who is in the team?

The answer is in understanding what you do have and adjusting your style for the individuals on board. Once you understand the people you can then manage them appropriately; according to their needs, not your preferred style.

Understanding the profile of your team members will also give you an indication of whether you have any skills deficits which need to be addressed.

The quickest way to this understanding is a short and honest conversation with each of your team members. The best way is by developing an ongoing relationship with each one of them where there is an open and trusted conversation happening.

Beyond that there are tools and frameworks that you can learn about that will help you analyse and address the needs of your team.

Max Wideman has an article on his website discussing how project teams need a variety of personality types on board to be fully effective. Wideman’s article considers both the competing values model and the Myers-Briggs personality models as ways of dividing up people into the ways they are best suited to contribute to projects. (His theory indicates that effective projects manager personalities are in short supply.)

Co-incidentally there is a discussion thread at Modern Analyst on personality types and a question about whether there is likely to be a consistency in business analysis. For example the role requires certain traits like attention to detail and good communications skills.

I encourage you to take a quick Myers-Briggs test and report your results to the Modern Analyst discussion board.