Your project team is the key to concluding any project successfully. The right team members will enhance communication, ensure that each task is completed sequentially, and that the necessary value is delivered at the end of the project. However, things aren’t always so streamlined and smooth. There can be problems within a project team, and knowing when (and how) to replace team members is very important.
Time and Performance
There are many different areas in which team members can become problems, but two of the more important are time and performance. For instance, if you have a high-performing team member, but one who is constantly late for work, takes over-long breaks or constantly leaves early, their value to your team is questionable at best. In fact, they may actually be costing you more than you think, while simultaneously reducing the value of your project.
Another key area is performance. Your team member might have the skills to get their job done (at least on the surface), but if they’re unable or unwilling to bring them to bear at all times, it might be best to part ways with them completely. After all, if they can’t use their skills to benefit the project, they don’t really offer much in the way of value.
While replacing the person draining your project of success is important, it’s not always possible. For instance, if your project is very short term, replacing them might be impossible within the time remaining to you. In this type of situation, you’ll have to limp along with the team you currently have. The best option here is to coach the team member in question and try to improve the situation as much as possible while simultaneously ensuring that resentment and ill feelings don’t build up within the rest of the team.
Pitfalls in Replacing Team Members
While replacing a team member can be unavoidable in some situations, there are pitfalls that you’ll encounter. You’ll have to get past these in order to get your project back on track. One of the most important issues is finding a qualified replacement for the person you’re letting go. Depending on the skillset of the departing team member, this can range from relatively easy to almost impossible.
Yet another issue will be the time required to bring the new team member up to speed on the project (the learning curve). In most instances, this will take at least several days. However, if your project or the duties the new team member is taking on are extremely complex, you might see a significantly greater amount of time spent just in ensuring that he or she is completely on board.
Replacing a team member should always be your last resort. It can be difficult or impossible in some instances. Perhaps the ideal solution is to try to improve the work of the current member, though in some instances that’s not possible either. Think long and hard before you opt for replacement, though, as it can be very costly.