A project team coalesces into one of four common forms. The most effective form within an the organization depends on the culture and interpersonal dynamics accepted and practiced across bounds of responsibility.
Where team dynamics are the exception and not the rule, problem-solving teams are the most effective form. Members have a specific problem for which they formulate a solution. Their lifetimes are short and their authority limited.
Self-managed work teams have dramatically different characteristics than work groups. Management positions are eliminated or reformed to deal with management of the team within the firm’s organizational structure. They are authorized to solve and implement the solutions with great latitude. This form would be most appropriate in smaller firms where hierarchical positions of leadership are not highly politicized or valued.
A mixed form of the problem-solving team and self-managed work team, cross-functional teams form from within a single level of hierarchy but many functional areas. Due to the nature of their split responsibilities fulfilling their functional and team duties, they are harder to manage but appropriate for complex tasks. Such teams are appropriate within traditional corporate environments.
Virtual teams are a distributed form of one of the preceding. The essential difference is the physically separate location of individual contributors and the normal modes of collaboration being highly dependent on virtual environments. This variation is useful when no physical location houses all of the individuals required to accomplish the task.