VOICES Peer to peer
Following a disbandment process to close a project opens the door to new opportunities.
What are the must-have steps for proper team
Proper team disbandment has to
be monitored centrally in the pro-
gram management office (PMO). We have standard operating
procedures for team disbandment, and our PMO site team
monitors progress to make sure every project manager in our
organization adheres to the guidelines we’ve given them.
R. Rooban Annamalai, PMP:
I think it really depends on the project—
Fred Fanning, PMP:
and what has occurred on the team. If
two team members had experienced confrontation, I would
add conflict resolution to the disbandment process. I’d want
to make sure baggage wasn’t left over for these individuals
for future assignments.
Why do project managers often skip a formal
As teams work through the process, they’re
“People are the
focused on getting the deliverables out to the
customer. Once that’s achieved, it’s easy to lose momentum
aspect of any
project, and a formal
helps them prepare
for transitioning to
—R. Rooban Annamalai, PMP, Wipro Retail UK,
on those final steps. Plus, disbandment means
discontinuing the relationships on the current
project, and people are often reluctant—probably
unknowingly—to break those bonds. So they
leave the steps out and just disband as they will.
For some teams, disbandment
is skipped because it’s more
comfortable to avoid an emotionally difficult
task. But people should look forward to the
process, because closing a project may lead to
a new opportunity for career advancement or
learning new technologies.
Fred Fanning, PMP, is
director of program
logistics operations at
the U.S. Department
of Energy in Washington, D.C., USA.
R. Rooban Annamalai,
PMP, is a program
manager at Wipro
Retail UK, in Bradford,
What’s the biggest advantage of a
People are the most important aspect of any
project, and a formal disbandment process
helps them prepare for transitioning to new projects. For exam-
ple, if team members have to relocate, disbanding gives them
time to prepare for the impending change.
I’ve seen leftover resentment from some team
members when we don’t disband properly,
because we didn’t do individual performance reviews or
reward performance. They felt like they didn’t get credit for
the work they did on the project. I think there is a benefit to
the organization, too. Without disbanding the team properly,
we don’t make notes or develop lessons learned from the
team members’ experience.
What is the biggest challenge of the
It’s not an easy conversation, but you have
to discuss the good and the bad of each team
member’s performance. If not, the next project manager has
to start over. He or she may not know there have been some
issues in the past.
Giving honest feedback helps the whole disbandment process,
and it allows that team member to see how he or she has made
the team successful or not. PM