Project Team Start Up: The Foundations

"This is not two days out of work; this is two days of highly productive project and team progression"

This is about getting the most from every moment of your project team start up, whether you are a functional local project team or a global virtual project team.

Don't kid yourself. Creating a project team out of a collection of individuals, who are often coping with other line managers and competing individual objectives and roles, is not just going to happen. It is something that demands skill, attention, care and focus. Working alongside your project team, we strive to help them cultivate controlled self sufficiency from the outset. We keep them focused on the task whilst facilitating them through carefully designed activities that will enable them to mature both as individuals and effective team members. Challenging and realistic expectations are set for the fledgling team with confidence built through expert facilitation.

The output from the two days can be visibly measured in two key areas, team maturity in the face of the project challenge and the team capability in terms of planning, efficiency and delivery.

Team effectiveness diagnostic

The team effectiveness diagnostic is completed three weeks prior to the workshop by all team members and the leader. This diagnostic provides teams with accelerated insight into their current capability and the team's strengths, successes and areas for improvement. The collated report is brought into the workshop as the start point for discussion, issue identification, prioritisation and resolution.

Workshop outline

This outline is an indication of a Project Team Start Up - with everything rooted in the client's realities and specific needs, including incorporation of client bespoke terminology, documents and associated approaches.


Typical project team start ups are two days with the team having the opportunity for the evening of day one to continue getting to know each other. One day events can also be provided. We do provide structured evening challenges prior to the meal but recommend that the team has the space to just be with each other in a relaxed setting. Many may also have traveled some way to be at this event and some time to chill may be greatly appreciated.

Target participation

This workshop is designed for teams embarking upon a new project or programme.

Support materials

Mastering Change through Project Management: accompanying this development is this comprehensive guidebook, designed to provide on-going support for all your project management needs. Lively, practical and comprehensive, it offers an unequalled depth and breadth of knowledge, skills and tips. Dealing head on with the realities facing sponsors, project leaders and teams throughout the life of a project, it makes a genuine reference tool and journey companion.

You will also be given a link to our website in order to access invaluable templates for immediate use.

Workshop Outline


A lively, fast-paced introduction that sets the tone for the start up and grabs immediate attention and interest. Includes: review of agenda, event operating principles, expectation-setting, and a team 'icebreaker' exercise providing data on current team effectiveness, to enable the team to benchmark their progress during the event.

The project players

This session looks at the three key accountable roles, the sponsor, project leader and project team members and the relationships and boundaries between them. Before helping the team step into the shoes of the other players with tips and practical sessions on how to secure professional and positive relationships.

So what is our project all about?

The team are challenged and supported to share their current understanding and assumptions about the project they are about to embark on. The benefits and value of the *project contract is explored for the team, stakeholders and customers. The team then work as a whole and in subgroups creating and/or reviewing a *project contract, before checking alignment, understanding, receiving feedback from the facilitator, and sharing their confidence and ability to deliver.

* the project contract can be substituted for the clients own document. Our contract can be viewed on request

Understanding our customers

Teams identify/clarify their project customers and check how clear they really are on their requirements and priorities. The team are challenged on how they will work with their customers and ensure ongoing clarity around requirements and priorities as the project progresses. The team are then equipped with tips and processes and introduced to some invaluable tools.

Identifying stakeholders

This session looks at the role of the stakeholder, the different types and their importance, before teams identify/confirm the stakeholders for their project.

Measuring success and progress

This session explores what needs to be measured through the life of the project, whether baseline measures exist or should be collected, and questions who will really judge project success, The team then determine how they want to keep themselves and their stakeholders, customers and sponsor informed.

The virtual challenge

If the project team is virtual we will attend directly to the challenges this poses. Please review the virtual team start up challenge outline.

Do we need to be a team?

Teams must have a compelling reason to work as a team. Otherwise, forget the task - just keeping the team together will be tough enough.

The team establishes what their compelling reason is for working together, and explores the level of interdependence required to achieve the team's goals.

Building a high performance team

This session has the team focused on getting to know each other and building in commitments and practises that will enable them to work effectively. For example team members share their strengths and needs, how to get the best from each other, exchange feedback and create a Team-Working Charter.

This session can also include 'Meetings that matter'

For many projects the only time the team comes together is at the good old project team meeting. Thus again a real pressure point and opportunity to engage and secure results. Participants explore the ingredients required for great project team meetings, how to prepare for them and make them work. For virtual teams we can also focus on how to make video/audio conferences work.

Our communication infrastructure

This session looks at how the development of an infrastructure facilitates and supports effective collaboration among team members and between the team and their customers and stakeholders. Teams then determine their infrastructure needs.

Building stakeholder commitment

This session explores how changes unfold and how people respond to change, whether the change is perceived as positive and negative. The team evaluate the current status of their stakeholders towards the project, the evidence they have for this assessment and how they will ensure ongoing intelligence. They then create a stakeholder communication & involvement plan and are equipped with the skills and tools for keeping stakeholders connected and engaged.

This session can also include stakeholder workouts.

How to prepare for and deliver a workout where stakeholder's ideas, questions and issues can be heard and managed in a structured working meeting.

Risk and opportunity management

The team are introduced to a process and tools for proactive identifying and managing risks and opportunities, with exercises for immediate application to the project being progressed.

Managing issues and having those crucial conversations

Teams review any issues that are currently impeding progress, and explore a process for early identification and ongoing management of their project issues.

Being able to have the right conversations is central to the ability to engage others, promote openness and learning and tackle the tough issues.

So part two of this session provides the team with tools and practice on how to have a crucial conversation, with the customer, sponsor, team members and stakeholders - moving beyond the often superficial exchange of data to conversations that have meaning, impact and positive outcomes.

Managing changes to the project

This session looks at a change control process for capturing, evaluating, and tracking changes, so that the project can benefit from enhancements, whilst preventing chaos, delays, and escalating costs.

Our commitments

The team conclude the session by summarising and sharing the decisions and commitments they have made and next steps.


Participants run a feedback session on the quality and impact of the workshop, consultant and effectiveness of their own contribution to the workshop experience.