Avoiding Mistakes During the Team Acquisition: Find the Right People to the Right Function Using MBTI©


PMI Global Congress EMEA
Edimburg - Scotland - 2005


This article presents a vision of the models of preferences presented by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator© (MBTI) and its application for the Staff Acquisition. Using the comprehension of the relation between the 16 MBTI Types with the main project Management functions, is possible to attribute functions inside the project in concordance with the individual preferences, increasing the motivation of the team and reducing potentials conflicts and problems in the project.

Team acquisition in the project

The project human resources area is one of the PMBOK Guide 3rd (PMI 2004) knowledge areas that the manager and project team have requested more attention.
As reported in the Guide, the Project Human Resources Management includes the processes required to make the most effective use of human resources involved with the project. It includes all project stakeholders: sponsors, customers, individual contributors and others. The main processes are described below and Exhibit 1 provides the mind map of the processes.

  • Human Resources Planning – Identifying and documenting project roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships, as well as creating the staffing management plan.
  • Acquire Project Team – Obtaining the human resources needed to complete the project.
  • Develop Project Team– Improving the competencies and interaction of team members to enhance project performance.
  • Manage Project Team – Tracking team member performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and coordinating changes to enhance project performance.

Exhibit 1 – Human Resources Management Processes.

Exhibit 1 – Human Resources Management Processes

These processes interact with each other and with the process in the other knowledge areas. Each process may involve effort from one or more individuals or groups depending on the needs of the project.
The staff acquisition approached in this paper involves the increase of the capability to find the most adequate professional to each project function (VARGAS, 2004).

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®)

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic difference in the way individual prefer to use their perception and judgment.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, to make C.G. Jung’s theory of psychological type practical and useful in people’s lives.
With MBTI® people learn to identify their characteristics, their points of strength and development and the kinds of work more adequate to their type, special abilities and expectations. MBTI® also indicates how relationships and aptness can be developed for personal as well as for organizational success.
MBTI® further indicates:

  • How to improve interpersonal relationships
  • How to improve the ability to lead with efficiency
  • How to deepen self-knowledge
  • How to create more productive and participating work teams
  • How to endow your organization with higher patterns of efficiency and productivity

The MBTI ® test is applied by CPP (Center for Applications of Psychological Type) through a questionnaire with 93 multiple choice questions, tabulated through a data bank with millions of people who have already used MBTI®. The result is presented with 4 letters that picture the exercise of the individual preferences regarding perception and judgment, as follows:

  • E or I – Where the person prefers to focus his/her attention (Extroverts or Introverts)
  • S or N – How the person obtains information about things (Sensors or Intuitive)
  • T or F – How the person takes decisions (Thinking or Feeling)
  • J or P – How the person guides him/herself regarding the world (Judging or Perceiving)

The Internet has a series of tests available to MBTI®, such as the sites http://www.humanmetrics.com and http://bloginality.love-productions.com.

The Sixteen Types 1

By combining the individual preferences we have the sixteen psychological Types. Isabel Briggs Myers has prepared a basic set of characteristics for each of these types, as will be presented below.

Exhibit 1 – Sixteen Psychological Types (©Consulting Psychologists Press Inc.).

Exhibit 2 – Sixteen Psychological Types (©Consulting Psychologists Press Inc.)

1 Excerpted from Introduction to Type by Isabel Briggs Myers published by CPP. Inc.

ISTJ – Quite, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.

ISFJ – Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home.

INFJ – Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.

INTJ – Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Sceptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.

ISTP – Tolerant and flexible, quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions. Analyze what makes things work and readily get through large amounts of data to isolate the core of practical problems. Interested in cause and effect, organize facts using logical principles, value efficiency.

ISFP – Quiet, friendly, sensitive, and kind. Enjoy the present moment, what’s going on around them. Like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame. Loyal and committed to their values and to people who are important to them. Dislike disagreements and conflicts; do not force their opinions or values on others.

INFP – Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfil their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.

INTP – Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have an unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Sceptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.

ESTP – Flexible and tolerant, they take a pragmatic approach focused on immediate results. Theories and conceptual explanations bore them – they want to act energetically to solve the problem. Focus on the here-and-now, spontaneous, enjoy each moment that they can be active with others. Enjoy material comforts and style. Learn best through doing.

ESFP – Outgoing, friendly, and accepting. $Exuberant lovers of life, people, and material comforts. Enjoy working with others to make things happen. Bring common sense and a realistic approach to their work, and make work fun. Flexible and spontaneous, adapt readily to new people and environments. Learn best by trying a new skill with other people.

ENFP – Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.

ENTP – Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.

ESTJ – Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.

ESFJ – Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment; work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.

ENFJ – Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfil their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group and provide inspiring leadership.

ENTJ – Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.

Project Management Functions Related with Psychological Types

Based on the psychological types presented by the MBTI ® it can be proven that in an environment of projects, each one of the types has determined inherent easinesses and difficulties to the work in projects.
Based in the work of KROEGER, THUESEN, J. M. & RUTLEGE, H. (2002), can be consolidated the following aspects of each type: Workplace Contribution, Pathway to the Professional Growth, Leadership Qualities, Team Spirit and suggested PM. Jobs.

Workplace Contribution – Establishes order dutifully and steadily and works within the system to manage and complete tasks on time and under budget.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn that both organizational change and people issues – ideas that may violate tradition – can play powerful and positive roles in organizational life.
Leadership Qualities – Brings tasks to completion efficiently and dutifully while maintaining respect and order throughout the group or organization.
Team Spirit – Teams, if well managed, are a good way to distribute tasks and complete projects, but the important work that is done is carried out by individuals when the team meetings are over.
Suggested PM Job – financial work, controlling, technical problem solving, individual and isolated tasks.

Workplace Contribution – Offers quiet support, a sense of order, and attention to detail from behind the scenes.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to be open to new possibilities and changing situations—-this flexibility can often be the support someone most needs.
Leadership Qualities – Produces results through one-on-one relationships and detail control and tends to perform tasks oneself rather than delegate.
Team Spirit – Teams are worthwhile work units, vital and important structures that are yet another arena in which to provide quiet, unassuming support to the organization and its people.
Suggested PM Job – one to one relationship, tasks with no delegation, idea generation.

Workplace Contribution – Turns work into a cause and injects—with quiet, serious focus – inspiration and devotion throughout the organization.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn that his or her excitement about the future and the possibilities it holds for people is often overlooked, buried as it is beneath a serious exterior.
Leadership Qualities – Provides inspirational and visionary direction with a moralistic or values-related spin, working with focus toward change and development.
Team Spirit – Teams are complex human systems that need understanding and care and that, if well managed, can produce inspirational, valuable work.
Suggested PM Job – idea inspiration, visionary tasks and project management, work well with complex situations.

Workplace Contribution – Provides organizations and groups with objective clarity, vision, and strategic thinking white driving toward change and improvement.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn that each idea for visionary change brings with it untold details to which someone will need to tend – the stresses brought on by visionary change are real and painful.
Leadership Qualities – Draws energy from the complexity of future possibilities and shepherds individuals and groups through uncertainty and change with decisiveness and fairness.
Team Spirit – Teams are powerful and complicated systems that, if well designed and managed, can play a pivotal role in bringing a group or organization’s vision to fruition.
Suggested PM Job – strategic problem-solving, able to work with details and with uncertainty, group organization.

Workplace Contribution – Solves problems practically and immediately with a calm, clear-thinking resolve.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn that the complexity of people and relationships deserves consideration and offers no quick fix.
Leadership Qualities – Sets an example to act independently and to attend to the needs of the short term, unencumbered by tradition, procedure, or the demands of others.
Team Spirit – Teams are often an irritation and a diversion from effective, practical work, work that is best done alone.
Suggested PM Job – conflict resolution with calm and control, immediate action tasks, work well alone, practical and direct project tasks.

Workplace Contribution – Support people and their efforts with a gentle – almost anonymous – attention to details and action in the moment.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to focus on the patterns and problems beyond immediate concern – to look for and confront the systemic or root issues and not to get lost in the foreground, solving only the problems of today.
Leadership Qualities – Leads by example-by tending to task details and providing gentle; unassuming support.
Team Spirit – Teams are fine and can be fun, through they are personally draining and intrusive; quiet support and diligent works are what make teams effective.
Suggested PM Job – hidden project tasks, tasks that must be done without reward, quiet support.

Workplace Contribution – Holds and protects the values within which are rooted individual, group, and organizational identities —often serving as moral ballast for organizations and teams.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to face conflict and confront it in the moment.
Leadership Qualities – Appeals to values through personal relationships – controlling tasks and people in such a way that those concerned do not notice they are being controlled at all.
Team Spirit – Though teamwork is difficult and draining, collaborating and working together to pool resources and ideas is valuable and motivating.
Suggested PM Job – team support, intuitive jobs, team moral ballast.

Workplace Contribution – Uses cleverness and independent thinking to problem-solve and reinvent, and in an easygoing unassuming manner prods organizational change and improvement.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn that connecting and communicating with other people is important – great solutions and ideas are adopted and enacted through personal relationships.
Leadership Qualities – Creates and works toward a vision and a better solution and allows others to follow at their own pace and ability.
Team Spirit – A team is okay if it allows members to enter on their own terms and to contribute in their own way – but the best visioning and problem solving is done in isolation.
Suggested PM Job – valorize each contribution in a team, isolated problem-solving, technical project job, financial control.

Workplace Contribution – Goes with the flow, adapts to the unexpected, allows variables, and delivers what needs to be delivered.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to be patient with routines and to be aware that others may find comfort in structure, rules, and contemplation of future possibilities.
Leadership Qualities – Keeps oneself and others on their toes by being open and responsive to the unexpected and abandoning rules of hierarchy and tradition in the name of expediency.
Team Spirit – Teams can be fun; however, without constant action and variation, or in dull meetings, they can run aground.
Suggested PM Job – work well with unpredictable job, without hierarchy and tradition.

Workplace Contribution – Provides high-spirited energy that keeps a variety of people and actions moving in positive ways.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to stretch to face the negative, stressful, and even hostile moments of work life is not always a barrel of fun.
Leadership Qualities – Has a personal and often playful go-with-the-moment style that can be highly motivating to others.
Team Spirit – Teamwork is the best way to approach any endeavor; the entire world’s a team, and only good can come from such joined efforts.
Suggested PM Job – diverse cultural team manager, group problem-solving, global project management.

Workplace Contribution – Motivates and invigorates thought inspiration, enthusiasm, and unyielding attention to personal relationships.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to follow projects and commitments through to completion and to be aware that one’s wide mood swings can frustrate and confuse those with whom he or she works.
Leadership Qualities – Motivates, inspires, and cajoles people to accomplish tasks and to develop both personally and professionally.
Team Spirit – Teams are fun and energizing – especially when conflict, hierarchy, and tight time lines can be avoided.
Suggested PM Job – team motivator, group problem-solving, optimistic team leader that believe that work together is the best work.

Workplace Contribution – Regards the workplace as a system to be moved, challenged, and reconfigured so that learning is constant and worthwhile tasks are accomplished.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to focus energy on follow-through and completion – even when one deems them boring and to remember that wide mood swings can send mixed signals.
Leadership Qualities – Empowers oneself and others by challenging, confronting, and even taking an opposing point of view to enhance each individual’s contribution to the end result.
Team Spirit – Teams are one more important vehicle for earning – an arena for testing ideas, discussing differences, and collaborating on results.
Suggested PM Job – change management, change leader, conflict resolution from opposing points of view.

Workplace Contribution – Drives to take charge, to see the practical facilitation of a task, and to complete it with dispatch and skill.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to be less hard-charging by listening to and allowing alternative viewpoints.
Leadership Qualities – Takes charge, demands 1oyalty, pushes hard to accomplish a task, and tells it like it is.
Team Spirit – Teams are an effective tool for accomplishing tasks as long as they are well managed and people’s roles and goals are defined.
Suggested PM Job – practical team manager, quick answer problem-solving, role management, execution manager.

Workplace Contribution – Builds a harmonious environment that supports personal achievement and task accomplishment.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to accept differences, allow them to be expressed, and recognize that conflict is not always destructive.
Leadership Qualities – Projects inspiration and graciousness with a constant yet gentle nudge toward task completion.
Team Spirit – Teams are good and can be productive; however, arguments and disagreements should not be tolerated.
Suggested PM Job – harmonious team manager, good supporting individual tasks, do not accept intolerances from the team members.

Workplace Contribution – Personally inspires and motivates all to work harmoniously for the common good.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn that not all situations need rescue and that disagreements are not personal attacks.
Leadership Qualities – Empowers others to accomplish what needs to be done by nurturing relationships and making personal appeals.
Team Spirit – Teams are good, people are good, and work is good when the theme of togetherness drives the task.
Suggested PM Job – positive team leader, optimistic point of view, nurture relationships, conflict resolution from team members.

Workplace Contribution – Through hard-charging arguments and action, intellectually inspires and challenges everyone to experience a vision and to move toward its fulfillment with dispatch.
Pathway to Professional Growth – Must learn to allow time for others to develop at their own pace and level of commitment.
Leadership Qualities – Is task-driven and demanding, with a motivational spin for everyone to get on board and move toward achieving the goal.
Team Spirit – Teams can be good and do provide opportunities for more involvement – as long as the task is completed and the group’s process do not slow or water down the vision.
Suggested PM Job – intuitive team leader, intellectual leader, task driven manager.


The aim of this article is to associate the theory proposed by C. G. Jung and the need to accomplish a judicious and well-succeeded human resources selection for the project. With the allocation of the psychological types that are aligned to the functions they will represent, the probability of turn-over is reduced, thus increasing the motivation and facilitating the development of the team. Finally, it is important to stress that there is not a better or worse type. All types have strong and weak features, and, in a project’s human resources selection, several other factors, dynamics and processes will complement MBTI® in the adequate selection and allocation of the project’s resources.


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