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Motivation, leadership, structure, resources and systems: all of these must be present to maximize project team performance.

Yet, as important as these are, they aren’t enough. There’s one more piece of the “team performance puzzle” that is indispensable. And surprisingly, it’s also the one piece that many projects overlook. Transparency.

Transparency enables project team members to grasp the project as a whole, so they can see how their individual contributions are not only important, but essential to the overall objective.

Transparency facilitates feedback, suggestions and contributions from the folks who are often the most qualified (and yet neglected) stakeholders on a project: the people doing the work!

Transparency encourages knowledge sharing – particularly around issue management – which helps projects take advantage of opportunities, and avoid pitfalls and setbacks. At the same time, it also brings on board professionals from allied departments and units, such as IT and R&D, who may not be a part of project execution, but certainly have an interest in the wisdom that project team members uncover as the march forth towards the finish line.

And just as valuably, transparency creates individual and team “buy in,” which may seem like an abstract touchy-feely thing that isn’t all that important, but as any experienced Project Manager will tell you, makes a major difference in whether a project rises to the occasion when it’s faced with a difficult challenge – or whether it starts to come apart at the seams.

So, it’s clear (no pun intended!) that transparency is essential for maximizing project team performance. But what isn’t as clear, is the most efficient way to achieve it.

Frankly, most Project Managers don’t have the luxury of personally training – or even selecting – who is going to work on any given project. Furthermore, given the nature of projects, it’s possible (sometimes likely) that some team members who attend the kickoff meeting won’t be the same ones who drink a toast at the wrap-up celebration. Turnover on projects is rarely good, but it’s just the nature of things.

However, there’s no need for project managers to train project team members on the value of transparency, and then maintain that awareness throughout the project. Instead, they can just choose right project management software.

Quite simply (and yes, it really is this simple) the right project management software is fundamentally designed for transparency. That is, it features built-in systems and tools to make it easy and efficient for project team members to:

  • See the project’s “big picture” anytime, and from any Internet-connected computer, tablet or smartphone
  • Send feedback, and play a meaningful role in not just working on a project, but steering it, too
  • Share knowledge and information with team members (and earn a lot of high-fives from IT and R&D)
  • Achieve the all-important “buy in” that will motivate them to do their best when things are going good and when things aren’t so smooth