All About Team Working:
Quality Groups
Improvement Teams
All Teams Internal
All Teams Methods

Project teams are set up to look at specific problems or at least problems to solve in certain areas. They usually cross though the standard lines of management authority and add to its effectiveness. They create a structure where the line of command in effect follows on from problems to be solved. When workers are involved in more spontaneous but very effective groups, it means a greater sense of ownership across the board and less supervision.

Many projects arise, which are simple to complex, where insight about how to improve matters can increase efficiency. Workers can show they know their work and environment, and it puts them into a positive attitude regarding work areas (and means industrial disputes are less likely). A team spirit is generated as discussion and analysis leads to problem solving and people come to collective decisions. Specialist teams appointed by management should gain respect if the right people are chosen and they seem to be dedicated to enhancing the overall objectives of an organisation.

People who "go in" find out about areas of work not always within immediate experience, so there is an element of training on the job. The teams look at staff operations and more and extend the discussion and analysis, so that in effect all staff become problem identifiers and solvers.

Sometimes teams have wider specialist insights and cover more broad and complex but still practicable tasks. Whichever they are, they all benefit from thorough and good analytical methods as well as existing knowledge and insights.

Still, not all findings and programmes that result are pleasant for everyone, but perhaps information is spread and understanding is gained. Rational findings and involvement are both crucial.

The teams have two kinds, mainly. The first is quality groups and the second improvement teams both of which have their own distincitve features and share features.

Quality groups (Workers and their own area)
Self appointed by volunteers:
  • Staff come and staff leave according to their own wishes
  • A co-ordinator is chosen from amongst the membership
  • Time is given to staff for involvement in meetings and investigations
  • The aim must be that all staff eventually attend and work in such a group to maximise involvement and commitment
Members from one department:
  • This is so that the focus stays specific
  • People either already know each other or it is an opportunity to learn about and work with colleagues
  • A better departmental spirit is encouraged
Look into own department:
  • Staff should be or become familiar with their operating environment
Discover where problems are:
  • The group finds problems to tackle and it can decide these
  • Some may be too big or require external action and so needs management planning
Tackle problems within the department:
  • It should give the opportunity to understand the department more holistically but keep this as the focus
Types of problems:
  • Problems may be long standing
  • Problems can be new and arising
  • Problems have practical solutions
Examples of problems:
  • Canteen delays
  • Component life
  • Punctuality
  • Focus and concentration
  • Gender variations
  • Working relationships
  • Lighting
  • Noise Pollution
  • Buildings and decor
  • Production problems identified
  • Suggestion Box matters
  • Departmental communication
Practical solutions:
  • The groups are accountable in terms of what they do in practical terms to solve problems
  • The groups are not simply discussion areas alone
Practical methods:
  • Initial organising
    • Aims
    • Objectives
    • Early thoughts on analytical methods
    • Assessment methods (did change occur?)
  • Teamwork generated
  • Measurements and objectivity recommended
  • Analytical methods vital (training possible, see below)
  • Benchmarks discussed
  • Briefings and reporting to management required
  • Final Report production
  • Pay
  • Contractual conditions
Management must know:
  • What problems are being identified
  • Oversee (hands off style) the carrying out of analysis and solutions
  • In case of intervention in case cross department matters are concerned
  • To provide the means to solve the problem where extra resources are necessary
  • If problem solving cannot be implemented
  • In case it blocks a solution (clear reasons should be given)
Recognition of results:
  • Groups are given recognition for achievements within the company (although there is usually no bonus for attendance itself)
Time to finish:
  • As groups take people out from other work, members should have a time to disband and resume normal working
  • Other groups can then form and may tackle the same issue with a fresh view (not ignoring previous attempts)

Improvement Teams (management innovations)
Team selection:
  • The management have taken on tackling deeper or more widespread problems via its team
  • Team is appointed by management
  • People are those that management know can make a difference
  • Management looks for a collection of skills
  • The leader or co-ordinator may be chosen by management
  • The leader or co-ordinator may be chosen by the team
  • Selection:
    • Skills
    • Insight
    • Position
Tackle issues which run across departments:
  • Recruitment is from different departments for a wider range of skills and experience
  • The problem is across departments and may be company wide
Depth of problems:
  • Complex Deep
  • Not have obvious solutions
  • Nevertheless problems must not overwhelm (for then more formal systems are needed)
Examples of problems for improvement:
  • Customer contacts
  • Supplier links
  • Widespread costs (a programme of change)
  • Sales and output to communicate better
  • Management Information Systems (MIS)
  • Recruitment standards and systems
Types of start ups:
  • Products may need development
  • Output lines (of many kinds) may need replacing/ replenishing
Practical methods:
  • Aims, objectives and assessment methodology necessary
  • Responsibilities handed out within and teamwork generated
  • Auditing useful
  • Measurements and objectivity recommended
  • Detailed and connected analytical methods recommended (training possible)
  • Benchmarks to set standards
  • Timetabling
  • Briefings and reporting back required
  • Appropriate report format agreement needed and informing management
Time of Teams:
  • The team should have a flexible timetable of tackling the problem The team should have a time to disband
Management feedback:
  • Formal progress reports need to go to management
  • Management retain directional control where necessary
  • Results should be published organisation wide
  • Management should adopt changes
  • If changes recommended cannot be adopted, management must give clear reasons why not

Certain methods and qualities should exist with all teams

The Team Itself (Internal dynamics)

However selected, teams are best effective when:

Working on team tasks needs:

To get definition and goals a constitution is necessary:

All teams need:

Each team meeting should have:

Good team members:

Each group needs to function with internal:

Full communication makes a team and includes:

Not all teams function well at all times and problems can arise because of:

Being a Team Co-ordinator is assisted by:

Leadership depends on:

The Co-ordinator should:

The Team Task (Activity of the group including analysis)

Difficulties to be tackled by (part 1):

It is necessary to know what the problems are in some detail:

There are a whole variety of methods for using data in task analysis and implementations, the analysis which ends in word lists scattered, in columns or in diagrams:

(Baguley, 2002, 89-101)

Difficulties to be tackled (part 2):

Workforce motivation must be understood in that employees:

This means that both the implementation and the resultant effect should, if possible, enhance the higher work motivations of staff. No solution is ever complete. If improvement leads to more project teams seeking even extra improvement, and more involvement, then so much the better. Focus should always be on ongoing financial arrangement, supply line security and cost, efficiency in output (whether service or manufacture), and customer requirements.



Baguley, P. (2002), Teams and Team-Working, Teach Yourself series, London: Teach Yourself Books, Hodder Headline, 170-177, 89-103.

Sadgrove, K. (1995), Making TQM Work, Better Management Skills series, London: Kogan Page, 75-82


Adrian Worsfold