Mike Hughes, Office Business Group Leader for Microsoft Ireland, believes that leadership, teaming and technology adoption are key to building a successful project team.
He spoke recently at an Ireland Chapter PMI event about collaboration best practices and how to create effective projects teams in today’s business climate. Here is what he had.
1. Leadership
Mike has four soundbite for successful leadership in project teams:
Be an example
Technology before strategy
Learn how to get out of your way
Create a supportive environment

2. Collaboration
Mike stated that project managers should listen and make sure the right people are involved in projects. He advised us to balance the benefits of the individual and company benefits in order to achieve a good balance.
3. Technology adoption
Mike explained how Microsoft views collaboration. It’s about integrating it into the work flow, not just bolting on after. Project teams can adapt and evolve their work and processes by integrating collaboration and’social technology’.
4. Measuring effectiveness
Mike stated that it was important to measure the things that matter with persistence. He said that if you don’t have KPI’s when you try to use Yammer (now owned by Microsoft), then you will fail.
The end of the job description
Mike stated that no one does what is on their job description anymore (at least not in the technology or project management worlds). Because non-routine work requires people to think. Collaboration tools require leadership, and that means trusting your team to do the right things.
He said that social media is changing the way people work. Social tools offer a way to improve your team’s ability to keep up with email. He stated that 85% of Fortune 500 companies use Yammer, a social network mainly for business purposes. This may be because Office 365 licenses give it away for free.
Explore: Microsoft’s new search
Search is essential because there is so much information available via a rich network. Mike also spoke about Delve, a new search engine that allows you to find information in a rich network. It will learn about your work and present you with “opportunities.” It is essentially predictive search that uses information about what you look at and who you talk to. Personally, I find it quite frightening. He gave an example of trying to find a presentation from a meeting. Instead of contacting the organizer, you can search the organisational memory for that presentation. If it has been made publicly available, you can access it. It may also contain other presentations that you might be interested in and people you might be able to speak with. You could spend hours looking through the files of others and comparing their profiles.
All Microsoft products are moving towards integration, allowing people and companies to interact. Yammer has been integrated into SharePoint 2013 portal tools, allowing for sharing and searching like never before.
This is how social is changing the way we work and what our colleagues expect of us. Successful project teams are able to adapt to the times and improve their work practices to ensure success.