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How to Measure Team Effectiveness: Top 5 Ways

Measuring a team’s effectiveness is different than measuring an individual’s performance. Metrics need to be established for every team project (at the outset), and every project needs to provide value to the organization. Here are our top five ways to measure team effectiveness:

  1. Establish Metrics for Each Team Project
  2. Meet Often with the Team
  3. Talk to Other Managers at the Company
  4. Meet One on One with Team Members
  5. Ask Yourself If the Team’s Projects Provide Value to the Company

1. Establish Metrics for Each Team Project

A manager cannot determine if a project has been successful without predefined metrics. Metrics provide a way of measurement. If a team is tasked with a job, how will they know if they’ve accomplished it, if metrics are not established beforehand?

Let’s give an example.

Sarah, Bill, and Marc work for Touchstone Research in Pasadena, California. They have been tasked by their supervisor, Andre, with generating more client leads for the sales division. The company sells research software.

If Andre’s ask of them is “Generate more leads for sales”, then that’s a problem. The word “lead” has not been defined. Nor has the exact number of leads they need to acquire, or when. In other words, metrics have not been established.

Metrics needs to be established for every project so that all team members understand the expectations. This will also help them to plan resources better.

Let’s try this again.

Sarah, Bill, and Marc have been tasked with “generating 100 qualified leads by the end of the quarter”.

A “qualified” lead is someone who has already expressed interest in a company’s product.

A “qualified lead” has already been defined by the management at Touchstone. It’s anyone who visited the company’s website and downloaded a free eBook AND visited the pricing page. Those last two action items have to happen in order to classify the visitor as a qualified lead.

To boost the amount of qualified leads in the hopes of reaching the goal, the team will look at producing more relevant and unique content on the website.

Keep in mind this metric was for a team assignment. The roles of the team members have to be established clearly, so that later Andre does not hear “that part was not my responsibility”. For instance, in this scenario, perhaps Bill is team leader, responsible for determining the new type of content the site will offer, Marc will write it, and Sarah will market it through search engine optimization techniques and a search engine marketing campaign.

One way managers can be assured that team members are in a good position to take on a project is through the setting of SMART goals. SMART goals includes measures for success.

2. Meet Often with the Team

As a manager, you can’t fully measure a team’s effectiveness unless you meet with your team regularly. There could be roadblocks the team members are facing that you don’t know about, and never will, unless you have regular meetings specifically about the team’s projects.

For instance, maybe the team was able to realize 80 qualified leads, but could have possibly reached 100 if there weren’t so many delays with the web team putting up the content. Had Andre known this earlier, he could have sat down with the appropriate managers and tried to work up a solution. But the team didn’t meet again until a month after the project began, so by that point it was too late to fix the problem.

Hold regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings with team members. Ask them about their challenges, and if they have enough resources to get their projects done. If there’s something stopping them from realizing an objective, that’s the time to troubleshoot the issues together, or perhaps for you to escalate them.

3. Talk to Other Managers at the Company

A team will almost certainly need help from other departments, in order to execute its plan and reach its goals. But are they going about their asks in the right way? Are they following existing protocols or procedures, or are they taking back door approaches that may be irritating to other staff members, and slowing down the process?

Most managers already have regular meetings with other managers at a company, or one-on-ones related to specific projects. This can be the time to probe gently about the relationship between your team and other teams, and if there’s anything more you can do to help.

Let’s use an example.

Andre’s team doesn’t “own” the keys to the company’s website, meaning they can’t just build a new webpage themselves, nor are they qualified to do it. For instance, Marc can write content, but he doesn’t have the skills to design a webpage. The team needs a designer, who will use what Marc has written, in his creative. They also need someone to update the site, and apply the necessary links and tracking tools.

At Touchstone, that’s all done through the “Digital Design” team. Their policy is six week’s notice for any new design and page build, and an additional week’s notice to “drop” the page into the site.

Andre meets with the digital design manager, Marisa, every Tuesday. They meet so they can update each other on a special project they’re working on. At the end of the next meeting, Andre mentions the team’s “qualified leads” project.

One of three things could happen here:

  1. Marisa may say she knows nothing about the project. This could be good news, meaning her team hasn’t flagged any issues.
  2. Marisa is versed on the project. Perhaps she mentions that Andre’s team has gotten their requests in on time, and everything is proceeding smoothly. Maybe she let’s Andre know her staff is also really satisfied with how well his team members have supplied all the information Marisa’s team needs.
  3. Marisa is versed on the project but notifies Andre that there has been little or no movement on his team’s end. The due date is fast approaching, but her team hasn’t been briefed and the proper forms haven’t been submitted.

#1 and #2 may mean Andre’s team is working effectively. # 3 means it is not.

4. Meet One on One with Team Members

As a manager, you are most likely meeting with your employees individually, and regularly. If not, you should consider status updates.

During your meetings, take the time to ask specifically about any team projects on the go. This shouldn’t be just about whether it’s looking like the team will meet its goals, but how the individual team member is feeling about his or her role.

At Touchstone, Andre meets with his team members every two weeks, individually. At their most recent status updates, Bill and Sarah were satisfied with the direction the “qualified leads” project was taking, and their roles in it. However, Marc has been experiencing some problems with Bill’s leadership, that he didn’t want to bring up in the group meeting. Apparently, Bill hasn’t been providing promised information, or following up when he says he’s going to follow up.

Andre now has to determine whether Marc’s complaints are valid, because if they are, then the team is no longer effective.

5. Ask Yourself If the Team’s Projects Provide Value to the Company

Think about the projects your team are tasked with. Do they provide value to the organization? And if so, how? Senior management will want to know.

Larger companies often suffer from too many make-work projects. This is because sometimes there are too many people, and not enough things to do. To fill this time, projects of little or no importance are assigned. This means resources are being used up for something that most likely won’t matter, and will not result in additional revenue for the company (whether directly or indirectly). This can reflect poorly on a manager, and the perception of his leadership capabilities.

Good leaders should ensure every project provides value, and are aligned with the company’s overall strategies.


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