Success and Failures of Team Management

The Main approach of this article is to give real-life experience examples on Success and Failures of Team Management in the Banking Industry. The team management, how it was handled during both the phases of life cycle in the banks are mentioned in this article. The examples stated tend to show how team management was handled in a simplified and difficult situation based on roles from team members, team leaders, project managers, executive directors, and stakeholders. It has shown impacts from smaller to larger teams which were managed for the scenario’s where success and failres of the projects taken place in the banks. Furthermore, it will be highlighted system tools used in banking industry for communication and team managements.

Theoretical Background

A Great Team Leader Comments: 

At a point of time, that “I” becomes “We” when you start working and managing the Team.

There will be point when you start sending email, starting with “I” during your initial career. There is a general way to state “I” in every email that I’m the one who did this activity completion or set of process etc., Gradually over a point of time, The “I” becomes “We”, when one manages a set of team, instead of one’s Handling own self. During the management of the team members, general term used while communicating in email becomes “We” as a Team while communicating with other teams, managers and stakeholders.

Teamwork is defined as “co-operation between those who are working on a task.” Commonly teamwork is understood as co-operation and willingness to work together. For example, we often use the phrase “He or She is a good team player”. This means someone has the interests of the team at heart, working for the good of the team and for the organizations. Teamwork has the potential to underpin so much of what is valuable in work. In fact, the benefits to be gained from teamwork synergies are essential for the effective management of teams which helps employer and their organizations. It can help teams to overcome obstacles and to handle conflict for the teams.

Teamwork can be necessary to have a foundation for the team and by means it is not meant to be call group of people to form a team. A Team should have good skills and strengths of each team mate to join for shared goals, objectives and good performance to get potential inside a team at work. Teamwork is linked into two components, which are more essential for our life. Let us take an example of Glue, which symbolizes how the team can work together then bond which propagates to Unity, Strength, Reliability and Support. 

The Team may work suggested by team members, but they must work in an environment of mutual trust and support, closely working together having a single goal, with good inter-group relationship with each other. Team Members strength are valued to form good output obtained from projects. It should also foster an increasing maturity of relationship, where people are free to have conflict openly and close constructively, and where both support and challenge are a part of helping teams work.

The principles that underpin effective teamwork in our STAR Teams Model:

  • Strengths – A team works best when the strengths of individuals are combined
  • Teamwork – An attitude and practical steps encouraging individuals to work together
  • Alignment – The Strengths of individuals and the support of colleagues are directed towards meaningful goals in the organization
  • Results – The team focuses on delivering results, encouraging a clear performance focus.


The balanced scorecard represents a performance measurement instrument, where objectives, measurands, and strategic actions are categorized according to a specific structure, which is designated as a dimension. The balanced scorecard was designed by Kaplan and Norton. They focus on finance, customers, learning & growth, as well as on an internal dimension. For every dimension, the main targets, objectives, measurands, and measures have to be developed, showing how the dimensions can influence each other (Kaplan, Norton 1996).

Later on, the Balanced Scorecard approach was further developed, and researchers 

added different dimensions to those that Kaplan & Norton proposed. The main results of these approaches were that the Balanced Scorecard approach is a flexible one, in which further dimensions such as customers, target markets, and suppliers up to a number of eight can be added and evaluated easily using this approach (Chen et al. 2011; Kaplan, Norton 2004).

Nowadays, the balanced scorecard approach is frequently used for most activities in organizations, such as strategic management, marketing, process management, or employee management. The balanced scorecard approach does not depend on the type of organization, which means it can be used for enterprises, governments, non-profit organizations, as well as for single departments in these organizations or in several cases for employees (Goncharuk 2011; Leung et al. 2006). Companies seek alternatives in order to develop their product, services, and internal processes, and overcome barriers caused by globalization and technological hype. Over the past decades, the rise of the Internet has provided new types of collaboration and knowledge sharing options for companies, in which they can hire geographically dispersed knowledge workers and create so-called virtual or ‘connected’ teams of these knowledge workers (Kuba Tova 2012). 

According to Cragan et al. (2009) connected teams have three major dimensions:

– Permanent or temporary

– Virtual interaction mode

– Small group boundaries

According to Kirkman (2004) a connected projects teams has the following characteristics:

– A connected team is a task-oriented group that can collaborate across time, space, and organizational boundaries by harnessing the power of computer-mediated communication. 

– Connected teams have alterable memberships with clear limits, and a defined customer, technical requirement, and output. 

McGrath, J. and Hollingshead (1994) mention that information and communication technologies might be used to support teamwork in different ways:

– Information presentation

– Support for team member communication

– Information process management

Structure of group processes {Employee connections. The multidimensional team management scorecard by Alptekin Erkollara and Birgit Obererb} 

Understanding how teams or groups learn to work effectively together provides the micro foundation for understanding organizational learning (Argote, 1999). Learning behavior in work teams (Edmondson, 1999) is one of the concepts that effectively connect knowledge management and organizational learning in a process of knowledge creation, sharing and utilization. It is the missing link between individual and organizational level knowledge, and between more static and more dynamic approach to knowledge management, that stresses socialization, face-to-face relationships, and cooperative interaction among individuals for the purpose of knowledge creation, sharing and utilization (Janz &Prasarnphanich, 2003).

The aim of the presented research was to describe and explain the team-level determinants of learning behavior of team members. Team members working in fifteen teams in two service organizations participated in the study. The proposed model of team-level variables influencing the occurrence of team learning behavior can be partially confirmed.

Task characteristics (task significance and task variability) and people-oriented team leadership have a positive contribution to the explanation of the frequency of team members performing learning behaviors. In the group of studied variables, task identity and task-oriented leadership behavior did not have an expected contribution to the frequency of learning behavior. The results of the regression analysis show that learning behavior of team members is determined by the nature of the task – more the task is important for team members and more the job they perform, encompasses variable tasks, more frequent is team member’s learning behavior. Moreover, people-oriented leadership, foster the occurrence of seeking feedback, asking for help, asking questions, talking about errors, sharing information, discussing, experimenting, action planning and implementing (Edmondson, 1999; Fister, 2004; Preskill & Torres, 1999).

Facilitative team leaders constantly challenge team members to new heights, encourage them to think freely, feel safe to take risk, openly admit, analyze, learn from their errors, and explore alternatives (Argote, 1999).

The findings generated from this study have implications for both academics and practitioners interested in better understanding of the nature of knowledge creation, dissemination and utilization as well as better understanding of how individual and group learning, and work performance, might be facilitated. The study suggests that both structural and socio-psychological characteristics of the work environment in which teams work influence learning behavior (Edmondson, 1999), and supports the suggestions of the learning organization and knowledge management literature, that for the improvement of learning and knowledge management, changes of the organizational structure and leadership style, are needed (De Long & Fahey, 2000; Fiol & Lyles, 1985; Senge, 1990). Moreover, the research done to determine team and group effectiveness is a good source of further understanding of individual and organizational learning process and knowledge management practices. One of the possible fields for further research is the dynamics of the learning process in teams with members from different generations.

{Individuals learning in work teams: Support to knowledge management initiatives and an important source of organizational learning by Katarina Babnik, NadaTrunk Sirca and Valerij Dermo}

Methods and Findings

Success Story – Gulf Region – Dubai – Business Case 1

Project Name: Centralization and Operation Control of Overseas Branches

Project Type: Training and Testing Support 

Role: Team Member and Team Leader

The project was started in the intention for doing centralization of New York, London, Hong Kong and India branches on Technology and Operations to be managed in UAE – Dubai. Technology and operation resources staffs were obtained from Asian countries and thus was done to reduce cost cut down on operational cost as employee from branches are having recurring cost on yearly basis on salary and other benefits. All the branches are regulated by their government agencies like Federal Reserve (FED), Bank of England (BOE), Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Approvals were obtained before initiating any activity on the Centralization from each of the regulators. All the regulatory requirements were met to make this project a point for success.

To start with, training activities on operation users for New York branch as the systems and tools were complex in nature. This case is considered as one of the business cases for centralization activity. Following are the systems that are applicable for NY branch

  • Globus or T24 Core-Banking system
  • FED System and Terminal – Regulatory for sending and receiving funds BTR & CTR
  • SWIFT Alliance System – Transfer and receiving of Payments for MT103 and MT202 
  • GIFTS System – AML System for OFAC Filtration and Compliance
  • Telex and Fax Systems

New York Branch were fully operational on Fund Transfer (FT) and Trade Finance (Letter of credit and Drawing) Modules. Teams are divided into Processor and Authorizer. Both Modules were having 2 users for each profile in case of absentees and Teams will be having a Payment and Trade Manager to handle situation with approval process and to communicate with other banks in USA relating to accidental issues that would occur. There will be a Treasury and Investment Dealer responsible for investing finance on receive funds from clients to be deposited for Short and Long-Term purpose in Money Market Module of Globus/T24.

Please find Training documents on Globus Navigation, Interface or Channels, Customer and Account Training, and GIFTS EDD Training which was attended by Operational Users as mentioned in Training user with SMS.

Dubai Operational stabilization took place nearly 18 days after going live to enhance operation issues and to automate and function in a more specialized manner. There were hectic testing activities taken place due to lack of working hours between New York and Dubai. Centralization of the branch before going live for nearly 30 days with exclusive testing to finalize and provide UAT Sign-off from Dubai Operational Business users. There were technical hiccups to stabilize during connectivity between Interfaces and core systems. Furthermore, Straight Through Processing was enabled with the Bank so within fractions of time around 2500 to 4000 transactions were processed without manual process. Even End of day for bank process was centralized and processed from Data Center of Dubai with full automation process. Overseas operations were centralized in 2005 for the bank. In the first phase, Hong Kong and UK operations were handled by Dubai, after which the India branch was later centralized. 

Success Conclusion:

Bank’s profit exceeded AED1 billion the same year, while assets reached AED50 billion in 2006 for the bank.

Success Story – EMEA Region – South Africa – Business Case 2

Project Name: Saturday needs to be working day for South Africa Bank

Project Type: Test Support

Role: Project Manager 

This project was started with the intention for making Saturday as a working day in their core-banking system and related Interface/channel system should support in their system. 

South Africa CEO’s was involved in this project directly and was receiving outcomes of the project on weekly basis to identify dependency on the Interface systems. The initial study on this project was to identify Interface systems which is addressed to Core-Banking system. This core-banking supports ‘N’ number of interface systems, so it was difficult to identify it. To identify the interface which are attached to core systems is designed as the wire diagram as attached below.

The project has the largest transformation of these interface systems which are application specific for South Africa Bank. Each and every Individual teams were identified during daily calls to find costing from their interface systems and the overall cost was arrived to meet this requirement of making Saturday as working day but the issue is that these interface teams were giving their own timelines to do testing and support activities which is a major issue and concern for the bank to meet the deadline date set by regulatory. The cost of the overall project was pertained to be huge since it is considered as test support project. There is no development involved even as testing required many man-days of effort.

South Africa CEO’s of the Bank contacted the Architecture Team along with the project manager of this project to discuss in detailed if there are any feasibility to obtain results earliest. Henceforth, the Architecture Team decided to identify the exact number of Interfaces impacting this core change after which the interfaces were considered for test support. Each individual team were contacted to provide support on this request and basic testing was completed with few rounds of EOD, EOM and EOY then Interface systems were ready to meet this requirement. The related document i.e. Project Plan, Interface Costing for Test Support and Project Working Committee Meeting details are attached for references,

The solution was obtained by changing core-banking systems in production which enabled for Saturday as working day via. Parameter change. The Interface system which may impact online services like ATM and credit cards, download and upload extractions, batch services, online web services were tested in live system then further downstream and upstream of core-banking systems were cross-check and verified to meet this requirement.

There must be a risk taken on this project to provide solution on this regulatory requirement to meet for these objectives. The risk was identified and highlighted to the management and stakeholder of this project approval was taken then the cut overtook place on production system directly. There are chances or risk taken due to non-availability of some Interface system where testing did not happen in this case, but the end results was success for this project. This project is a unique kind of project as the results are obtained from production system and all the testing took place as result of their outcomes.

Success Conclusion:

The South Africa Reserve Bank regulatory have not penalized South Africa Bank as the deadlines are very short to meet and it has not impacted the banks for business as usual and its customers who wants to process transactions as a regular business day. All the Activities are completed for working on Saturday which made mandatory as per all the system applications and tools for bank to support ‘Saturday needs to be working day for South Africa Bank’.

Failure Story – Europe Region – London – Business Case 1

Project Name: Research and Support of Core-Banking Software

Project Type: New Technology Testing

Role: Team Member

T24 Core-Banking software is famous all around the globe for banking requirements on Banking Industry Clients. There are wide range of products support by T24 on domains like Retail, Corporate, Treasury, Private Investment and Wealth Management, and Capital Market solutions. There were spending more research and development department situated at London. 

The Beta Testing for project team was formed with the support of three members i.e. Two from Asia and one from London location. The project was running in Vatican City and support/testing was provided from London. It was difficult to travel to Vatican City due to restriction in the country to travel by Asian. This is the reason; the team was supporting from the London front as Technology lead team was a newly using AS/400 (midrange server) with DB2 (Database). Hard core Technology resource for this technology team was doing research parallelly and resolving problem and their issue from technology point of view. T24 Products were not performing in the same manner how it behaves for other servers like HP Unix, Sun Solaris with Oracle Database. There is a technology constraint showing on the other side for this banking product on AS/400 and DB2.

The project manager was handling project well indeed in terms of Financial, Communication, Team management and overall project management with respective methodology and using specific tools. This is typical example for a good project management. On the team members aspect, one member was a product specialist and the other two members were technology specialist.

The problems which were raised by project team on-site was related to technology and product skills. There were a lot of competition inside the team than outside for resolving the problem from on-site team reported. All the three members will investigate the same problem without telling each other and whoever replies first to on-site team take the hold of this problem then respective patch and fix will be send to on-site team for resolution (redundant activity). These issues were internal in nature and the project manager was not aware about these internal problems. The product specialist member was top of the list to resolve the issue on-time and giving solution to on-site team as knowledge and skills on product is wide on him. There was tough competition among the three members to give reply to on-site team without basic understanding between them. Team management plays a vital role to handle situation among three members as all the three people are members of the team and not even a team leader as this issue can be neglected.

As the number of technological issues were more than application product issues, the client start getting annoyed on the problem to provide feasible solutions. Please find below issues which were reported by on-site as evidence for the management to take a call on this decision:

The project manager faces tough situation for escalation and deadlines were given to resolve the issues. There is a constraint reach at a point that project needs to be abandoned as financial costing was very huge and the maintenance for the Client’s servers are very high for supporting the application. The Project manager was removed from the project and organization without giving a reason which was a very bad remark since the project manager using the best methodologies and tool on the project management.

Failure Conclusion:

Frankly, there were management issues that exist between bank and vendor of the product to support for the technology which was an obstacle at that period. The banking client was paying heavy cost for managing their servers and technology is not supporting on this aspect. Even if the client must have used HP Unix server along with all security and audit measures with DB2 Database at least project must have been successful.

Failure Story – Gulf Region – Saudi Arabia – Business Case 2

Project Name: Asset Management System Project

Project Type: New Implementation

Role: Senior Project Manager

The project was started with the intention for making this project a success, but it was failure. DirectFN’s Asset Management System is an enterprise level suite of independent applications configurable to integrate and offer a flexible solution to asset management companies, to match their explicit requirements Its design is based on work flows and has all the functionality required by an asset management company (AMC) with back office operations like transactions processing system (TPS) . DirectFN’s Mubasher Brokerage for handling securities is a famous and fast selling product in Gulf region which does buy and sell of shares in Tadawul Stock Exchange.

The team was managed by three project managers and it is led by an IT Manager. This project was started with a project manager who is equal to my role in the capital business. All the statement of work, gaps, and scope study for this AMS Phase – 1 was completed by DirectFN Team after detailed study of current T24’s Mutual fund. It was found out that the requirement is equally matched with AMS System as per IT Manager which is running in the capital business of Mutual funds along with additional features on Mobile and Web application to provide real-time activities to Bank’s client and this required a change of implementation in AMS which has major functionality and enhancements along with AMS support for TDD as stated below.

As the project progressed, current project manager was following and doing regular activities then the requirement and uploading of T24 Mutual funds History and balances of clients arises. The current project manager is not aware of T24 system and its functionality as to get extract or downloads from T24 system. Due to the constraint in T24 knowledge, the project manager was changed, and it was handled to the new project manager (myself) as the requirement did not meet by the earlier project manager.

All the regular follow up and support from vendors is also provided to the project manager with strict deadlines. Project review on daily basis with the vendor along with the Internal bank team co-ordination was also provided and required support to Business user for preforming System Integration Testing (SIT) and other Interfaces testing. Project progress plan was highlighted to the stakeholders for detailed plan and the sample Minutes of the meeting was provided as stated below:

The project plan as per vendor co-ordination and project manager go-live was fixed on 25th Oct and due to conflict between project manager and IT Manager again project manager is changed now it is IT Manager becoming project manager. All the credit during the finishing of the project was taken by the IT Manager as implemented in this project overall. On the other hand, project for back office operation go-live soft launch happened on same date 25th Oct by using the same plan as per existing project manager. This make the situation uncomfortable that all the credits and enumeration for the project was obtained by IT Manager and highlighted to the CEO, Steering committee and Stakeholders. This is the present corporate culture in the gulf region to obtain credits of someone else. For understanding, this project was a successful aspect point of view from project manager but not from IT Manager’s.

Failure Conclusion:

The management decide to continue with T24 Mutual Funds Product for AMS and was trying to upgrade onto latest release of T24 to get additional features and enhancements. The effort put forward for implementation of DirectFN AMS was totally void and Bank’s Money paid to vendor was void for consultancy and Product enhancement. The Project was abandoned.

Team Management System Tool for Communication – Case 1

Tool Name: Click-Meeting

Click-Meeting is a very special feature for Communication of Team Management tool on Webinar and Offline Webinar for Students who are working aboard and other regions of the world to handle remote education taken at Home or Office. This tool has special features for instance to handle Video Capturing of Lecturer, show list of Attendees who are attending the class, Chat Box Room, Presentation of MS – PowerPoint or any file during Lecture taking class to team, Language Preferences, etc., At Click-Meeting, have been working around the clock to help businesses and educational institutions to stay connected.

Click-Meeting’s Video conferencing and webinars have transformed from a nice-to-have option to an essential tool for everyday usage. There is no surprise, that companies, schools, and other institutions rushed it to create their accounts on the webinar platform.

Click-Meeting can customize your webinar room and other elements with a few clicks to make great first impression and attract bigger audience, Host flawless and productive webinars regardless of device and operating system. Engage your audience with your content and allow for interaction. 

The Click-Meeting commitment is to deliver a stable application for you to successfully switch to 100% online communication. Make the most of your event and derive useful predictions and trends from it. Follow-up and strengthen the relationship you have just started to build.

Team Management System Tool for Communication – Case 2

Tool Name: Microsoft Team

Microsoft Team is a special feature tool to communicate with teams across region or countries. The current feature of this tool has lot of special feature on Private and 
Public Chat Room, Net Internet Video Meeting with Teammates, Speed Dial, Calendar Sync with outlook and other MS-Office applications, Language Change Preferences, Join Different Teams, Activity Tracking, Multiple Apps Inclusion inside Microsoft Team, Meeting sync with Mobile, Team Collaboration with their Teams etc.,

Research Question and Clarification

If the critical team member leaves the team and member is a key player in the team. How to handle and mitigate such situation?

This is a basic risk in every organization or any company or bank. They usually retain for Key Member happens by the name of promotion, increments or Higher Managerial Position for such resources as there is no replacement for such skills and demand for the client to hold such skills then to follow SLA for them and their business. They gradually start proceeding for making backup resources for the Key Member then once there is full whole knowledge transfer happens and all the information is documented with the control and monitoring process, then they will remove dependency for the Key Member finally transfer key member in another department then and make sure all the responsibilities are hand-over to the backup resource throughout a year cycle of employment so remove for any reason stating redundant employee of the year then able to dismantle the team into small teams to larger team or larger teams to small team then proceed for the whole re-organization structure. This is the way companies or Banks are handling such situation if any crisis happens to be in their organization. To my best of my knowledge, there is no place where employee become as Asset to the organization and it will be always a Liability to any organization. This is the best way to handle such situation on every organization to be managed in a real-life human resource.


The practice of Team management and Teamwork states that the team members and leaders must work together with common goals and objectives. In real scenarios, based on the comfort level with their work culture in span of 6 to 9 months, team members would expect promotion or some incentives on a regular basis. In a team of five members, first scenarios can be if one member is promoted on his capability to the next level as Team Leader then other members take a grudge on team leader. The other team members will be interested in opportunities from other companies within a year, and if more promoting happens with another team member then other three members will look for further opportunities. During this course, client deliverables will be impacted due to delay in the work to be performed for the projects as team members will demand sometime for promotion to complete the work.

This is the real fact, Human resource team is so intelligent to handle these kind of situation, on the second scenario they basically move Team leader to a different team of the same domain then bring in new team leaders from outside the company or contract resource for the current team so all the members will continue the same teamwork as regular basis. If team leader is required in the current team then first scenarios will work on it. If in case first scenario team leader leaves the company on his own due to any foreign visit opportunity, then in the team from one of four members from the team will get opportunity inside the team itself. If one person leaves the team then another opportunity is created inside or outside the team depending on the situation.

Team Management is handled internally with Human resource team in a well professional manner to advise respective senior manager for handling such situations. We basically think, Human resource team doesn’t do a critical role in the real-life experience, but they manage teams professionally and teamwork based on project defined by Project Management office (PMO) or Enterprise Project management office (EPMO) level then budget of new staff resource as skills were not found in current company or promoting thru internal transfers customized by Human resource Team accordingly.

As we discussed in detail about Success and failure cases, large organizations are facing realistic problem with the handling of team management as the teams were really monitored on the efficiency of work handled by them for projects. Large organization team in banks were managed by Cost Centre and each of the cost center is managed by Individual Directors and basic objective given to Board Members or CEO of the bank to the executive directors from/to their team manager is to generate major income on the product which specialized and supporting on test/production environments to make as much as they can during estimation stage as well. Hence, they quote estimate with the higher range of level for generating costing on their cost center majority of time.

There is a different kind of corporate culture in American, European and EMEA Region. In American and European culture, project and senior managers were well verse in project management profession and are most probably country residents from those countries so they know real meaning of project management on practices for methodologies and their tools for the respective project to run as well to meet SLA during the strict turnaround time to handle projects and programs to handle banking set of projects and large/small medium enterprise (SME) companies. 

In Gulf Culture, Project and IT Managers which are working in these projects are majority of the people who have spent time with those banks or companies for nearly 10 to 15 years and few have spent more than 25 years in the same bank or company as the management are fully depend on the people, as there is no proper documentation in place for knowledge transfer or sharing of the domain knowledge have work with. This is the reason, project and IT Managers are having hefty payments on the salaries and other benefits on bonus and incentives in their packages. The knowledge on the products and services they hold is Zero to Nilin terms of professionalism. There are only few talents that exist in this region who works for Companies or Banks. Based on the knowledge holding still they demand for promotion and hefty bonus by comparing with the other competitive bank/companies in the region due to high cost of living and professional demand in the Market. These are the peoples who are ruling gulf region in the current situation and they still say that they are going to leave the organization threatening if so and so bonus is paid to them on yearly basis as retention bonus.

The bank/companies are slowly changing their mindset in the Current and Next decade to get rid of this kind of people from their organization than removing dependencies from the products and services so they can free from them.

Bibliography (standard format of citations according to international standards):

Books References – BookBoon

1. There‘s is no “I” in Team by Apex Leadership Ltd

2. Team Development by Paul Newton

3. Team Performance Unleased! by John A. Willams

4. Employee connections. The multidimensional team management scorecard by Alptekin Erkollara and Birgit Obererb

5. Individuals learning in work teams: Support to knowledge management initiatives and an important source of organizational learning by Katarina Babnik, NadaTrunk Sirca and Valerij Dermo

Web Resources

1. Web Links

Article by Aslam Mohamed Haneef, student of LIGS University


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