Belbin and Successful Project Teams


By Dr. Dirk Jungnickel


Abid Mustafa

United Arab Emirates

Creating successful project teams is a daunting task for any project leader, especially when they are pressed to deliver results within aggressive time scales and tight budgetary constraints. Overcoming challenges such as getting the right blend of youth and experience, skills and competencies, academic qualification and professional certifications does not necessarily lead to the establishment of successful project teams.

Building successful project teams is about slotting the right individuals into designated team roles and fostering team spirit. This may sound easy at first, but in time it can become a cumbersome task, especially when project leaders have to choose from a number of highly competent people that can do multiple roles. Selecting individuals on conventional criteria based on experience, skills, qualifications and psychometric tests simply does not work. Alternative mechanisms have to be explored to get the right person for the right role within the team.

One such method of determining the suitability of individuals for team roles is the Belbin Team Inventory Method (BTIM). BTIM is a personality test and evaluates whether the personality of an individual is suitable for a particular role within the team. Based on this, individuals are assigned appropriate Belbin roles to perform.  There are eight Belbin roles in a team. These are Plant, Resource Investigator, Coordinator, Shaper, Monitor Evaluator, Team Worker, Implementer, Complete Finisher, and Specialist.

See Table 1.0 for a brief description.

Whilst it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the profiles of the Belbin roles in detail, it is suffice to mention that leadership roles are Shaper and Coordinator,  delivery focused roles are Resource Investigator, Implementer and Complete Finisher, and the cerebral roles are Monitor Evaluator, Plant and Specialist.


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About the Authors

dirk-jungnickelDirk Jungnickel

Dr. Dirk Jungnickel is an accomplished telecoms specialist whose areas of expertise include:  IT, Operations and project management.  He is currently SVP for Corporate programme management and Risk, and Operational Business intelligence for a leading operator in the MENA region.


abid-mustafaUnited-Arab-Emirates-mapAbid Mustafa

Abid Mustafa is a seasoned professional with 18 years’ experience in the IT and Telecommunications industry, specializing in enhancing corporate performance through the establishment and operation of executive PMOs and delivering tangible benefits through the management of complex transformation programs and projects. Currently, he is working as a director of corporate programs for a leading telecoms operator in the MENA region.  Mr. Mustafa is based in Dubai and can be contacted at [email protected].