Project management, today, has many challenges - the most important being people management. Managing people is not an easy task. Conflicts crop up among people everyday.

So what is the solution? 

It's simple - effective utilization of team ground rules.

Ground rules are policies and guidelines which a group establishes consciously to help individual members decide how to act. To be effective, ground rules must be clear, consistent, agreed-to, and followed.  Team ground rules define a behavioral model which addresses how individuals treat each other, communicate, participate, cooperate, and support each other in joint activities.  

A team should create and adopt written ground rules in the project planning stage. They should be added to and revised as and when required. Every project has a unique team and functional structure. Ground rules need to be defined considering project organization in detail. A few factors to be considered are:

- Team location: Location of the team is essential in defining ground rules. A combination of stationary and virtual teams would require additional ground rules.

- Team ethnicity: Consider the ethnicity of the team members and add few ground rules for effective team work.

- Project duration: Ground rules are important for any project irrespective of  the length of the project. Consider the length of the project for defining urgency of implementation.

- Team skills and expertise: Team members should have a mix of skills and expertise in the domain to ensure the success of a project.  

Project meeting

  • Be on time for all team meetings.
  • Team leader must create and disseminate agendas for each team meeting.
  • Team leader must create and disseminate minutes after each team meeting.
  • Attend full duration of all team meetings unless a case of emergency.
  • Avoid informal/social talk during team meetings.
  • Build in brief informal/social talk time before or after team meetings.
  • Be patient with alternative viewpoints, different kinds of learners, writers, & speakers.
  • No responsibilities to be assigned unless the person who is being assigned the responsibility accepts it. If a person to be given a responsibility is not at the meeting, the team leader must review that assignment or action item with the person before the responsibility is designated.
  • Set aside a regular weekly meeting time that’s kept open by all members from week to week.
  • Keep the meeting schedule flexible, arranging meetings as needed and based on availability.

Project decisions

  • Require consensus on all major team decisions.
  • Avoid apathetic/passive decision making (e.g., “whatever you all think is right”).

Project delivery

  • Inform team leader if unable to complete work on time.
  • Seek reader/listener feedback before handing in all deliverables.
  • Set deadlines for each deliverable in advance of due date to allow for collaborative revisions.

Team attitude and culture

  • Rotate responsibilities so each person gets experience with several aspects regardless of quality or qualifications.
  • Make criticisms constructive with suggestions for improvement and non-judgmental language.
  • Confront issues directly and promptly.
  • Promptly relay all interpersonal concerns/conflicts to team leaders.
  • Keep a positive attitude toward the team, individual members, projects and course.
  • Take initiative by offering ideas and volunteering for tasks.
  • Play an equal role in  the team by contributing equally to every task.
  • Be honest with any team member who is not pulling her/his weight.
  • Help one another with difficult or time consuming deliverables.
  • Ask for help from the team or other resources if “stuck” or falling behind.
  • Treat each other with respect.
  • Accept responsibility and accountability along with the authority given.

About the Author

Mahendra GuptaMahendra Gupta

Mahendra Gupta is a PMP and ISEB certified IT Consultant based in United Kingdom with more than 12+ years of experience in Business System Analysis and IT Project Management of wide range of projects within Banking and Trust Business sector.

View More

Find PMP® Certification Training in these cities

PMP Certification Training Course in AtlantaPMP Certification Training Course in AustinPMP Certification Training Course in BostonPMP Certification Training Course in CharlottePMP Certification Training Course in ChicagoPMP Certification Training Course in ClevelandPMP Certification Training Course in DallasPMP Certification Training Course in DenverPMP Certification Training Course in DetroitPMP Certification Training Course in FargoPMP Certification Training Course in HoustonPMP Certification Training Course in IrvingPMP Certification Training Course in Jersey cityPMP Certification Training Course in Las VegasPMP Certification Training Course in Los AngelesPMP Certification Training Course in MiamiPMP Certification Training Course in Mountain ViewPMP Certification Training Course in NashvillePMP Certification Training Course in New York CityPMP Certification Training Course in Orange CountyPMP Certification Training Course in OrlandoPMP Certification Training Course in PhiladelphiaPMP Certification Training Course in PhoenixPMP Certification Training Course in PittsburghPMP Certification Training Course in PleasantonPMP Certification Training Course in PortlandPMP Certification Training Course in RaleighPMP Certification Training Course in RochesterPMP Certification Training Course in San DiegoPMP Certification Training Course in San FranciscoPMP Certification Training Course in San JosePMP Certification Training Course in SeattlePMP Certification Training Course in TampaPMP Certification Training Course in Washington
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
  • *According to Simplilearn survey conducted and subject to terms & conditions with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as Process Advisors