Types of Teams
Teams can be divided into four main groups: project teams, self-managed teams, virtual teams, and operational teams. What type of team you have depends on its purpose, location, and organizational structure. Each type of team comes with its unique set of strengths and weaknesses. In order to fully utilize your team, you first need to understand where each type of teams works the best.
A project team is a group of employees that work collectively and have shared goals and strategies.
This type of team means structuring work in a specific, measurable and time-constrained way. Project teams allow assigning clear roles and responsibilities, set specific deadlines.
Types of Project teams
(i) Functional team
A functional team is permanent. It includes members of the same department with different responsibilities. There is a manager who is responsible for everything. Everyone in the team reports to him.
A functional team can be usually recognized in traditional project management companies.
This type requires a manager who ensures that there are no obstacles when it comes to transferring work from one team to another.
(ii) Cross-functional team
A cross-functional team consists of members from different departments. This kind of team tackles specific tasks that require different expertise and inputs.
Cross-functional teams are becoming increasingly popular all over the world. However, there is an opinion that the whopping number of all cross-functional teams are dysfunctional.
(iii) Matrix team
A matrix team is a “2-boss system”. Here an individual reports to a different manager for his/her work. A matrix team is the product of a Matrix management approach.
It helps top managers to retain control over the project without being involved in decisions.
(iv) Contract team
A contract team is an outsourced team where the members are tied down by a contract.
The client can easily cut all ties to the team after the project is completed and the contract has ended. In this kind of team, the role of project managers is crucial. They have to maintain constant communication between the customer and team members, to compensate for the lack of the team’s physical presence, to bear full responsibility for project success or failure.
Self-managed teams consist of employees of the same company who work together. Although they have a wide set of objectives, their key goal is to reach a common result.
There is no manager here. The members of self-managed teams should determine rules and expectations, solve problems and bare shared responsibilities.
Thinking about creating a self-managed team, you should pay attention to the levels of responsibility and the autonomy that is given to the team.
The main advantages of self-managed teams are:
- Improved motivation because of autonomy
- Ability to manage own time and handle tasks when it suits employees
- No pay for office
- Pride in team accomplishments because of shared responsibility
A virtual team involves employees who work in different locations and who rely on the power of communication and collaboration tools to get things done together.
This kind of team provides people with better life-work balance and allow business owners to hire the best experts.
There are different types of virtual teams that are characterized by 3 dimensions: time, space and culture.
- Time is about when people work (during different hours, on different shifts, in different time-zones).
- Space is about where people work (right next to each other or hundreds of kilometers away).
- Culture is about how people work (including such factors as gender, age, race, language, education, nationality, social, religious, economic factors, etc.)
An operational team deal with supporting other types of teams. It is formed to make sure that all office processes go smoothly.
Operational teams may have their own projects and function as they also have well-defined roles and responsibilities.
A problem-solving team is usually temporary. It is focused on solving a specific issue. This kind of team may be created after the financial crisis or any unplanned event or challenge. It is aimed to come up with solutions to help the company climb out of a steep recession.
Once guidelines are set in place and plans are formed, the task forces and committees are disbanded.