Project Management

Research Findings on the Characteristics of Successful Teams

Bruce McGraw, the author of this piece, summarizes the advice written in a Harvard Business Review article, regarding the analysis of a successful team behavior.   The original article was written by Alex Pentland, a professor and direct of MIT’s Human Dynamic Laboratory.   McGraw refers to four particular observations and makes his own conclusions: The best predictor of productivity was the energy and engagement among team members outside of formal meetings. The engagement is not facilitated by off-sites and parties, but can be improved with areas set aside for informal conversation such as break areas, cafeterias and hallways. His other three conclusions are also perceptive, for instance he expands on face-to-face communication and its significance, how effective teams have members who often engage in communication outside of the team enabling them to bring information and ideas back to the team, and finally ways of improving team communication.

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