Dan Armstrong writes in the March 3 Baseline Magazine Six Degrees of Project Management (free registration to see expanded pdf)
Human networks often cause more problems than technological ones. Break it down to that old game of Six Degrees.
The article starts with the claim that the "most successful project teams have lots of links." But I am not sure that well-connected necessarily implies an effective project team. Teams need to have the right skills to meet the needs of the projects. Certainly, the team also needs good communication, but in some sense a one-degree team doesn't need to form since they all "know" each other already.
Another view on this might be that value exists in the networks of each team member. Rather than finding team members who are heavily connected amongst each other, find members who are well-connected into other networks of people in oder to bring in those experts for temporary assignments and assistance on the project.
I do like Dan Armstrong's recommendations of things to watch for when considering the social network of a team:
- Don’t let yourself get overly central (within the network).
- Watch for overdependence on single links.
- Reach outside yourself.
[Thanks to my friend Shannon Clark for pointing me to this article.]