The last team that I was in prison I work at. When there is a major incident we form a team of people that manage or are in charge of certain aspects of the situation. There is an incident commander who oversees all aspects of the incident and is the final decision-maker. Under this person are four sub-categories of people, Operations, Planning, Administration, and Logistics (OPAL). Operations are in charge of making sure the regular duties of operating a prison not affected by the incident happen. Planning is in charge of making plans for how we are going to run the unit while dealing with this incident. The administration is in charge of keeping all the paperwork and reports up to date and making sure they are making it to all the right places. Logistics is in charge of making sure the staff and inmates are being fed and any other items the team needs to run the unit while dealing with the situation.
Utilizing the four stages of team development, forming, storming, norming, and performing (Gido Clements, 2006); I will explain how these apply to my team experience. In the forming stage, the incident commander assigns people to one of the four sub-categories and gives them direction on what he/she expects from their position. Using balanced scorecard metrics template is quite effective as you try to manage your team as a project manager.
In the storming stage, the incident commander expects feedback from everyone in regards to how we need to reach the common objective he/she has in mind. The four teams under OPAL talk with each other as to what tasks they will accomplish in relation to the common goal.
In the norming stage, the incident commander starts taking in what the four teams have come up with as a solution to the incident. He/she listens to each team leader as to what they have and will accomplish and provides direction as to what he/she expects to get accomplished from that team. An example of this would be in Administration, the team leader might inform the incident commander that specific reports have been updated and faxed to the correct people. The incident commander might suggest another report be completed and given to him/her.
In the performing stage, the incident commander will allow the team leaders to run their specific team how they deem necessary. For example, part of the operations team is the staging area manager (SAM). As the SAM it was my responsibility to assign resources (staff) to specific areas as they arrived on site. I did not continually ask the incident commander where these people should go but instead assigned them to the areas I deemed it necessary to place them. The incident commander, at this stage, concentrates on how well the incident is running and has delegated responsibility and authority to the team leaders in charge of their part of OPAL.
The success of the incident relies on the effectiveness of the team leaders to manage their resources towards the common goal of rectifying a situation. The incident commander’s (project manager) job is to help the teams develop and grow into one cohesive unit with different responsibilities. By utilizing these four stages in team development you, as the incident commander (project manager), will develop an effective team for incident (project) success.