Tiger Team: What Is and How It Helps to Solve Critical Problems

While you’re involved in any given project, there’s always a significant possibility of something not working your way.

It doesn’t matter how hard you and your team work, but sometimes unforeseen things can take you by surprise. It’s always best to be prepared for any possible outcomes and obstacles, but you can’t predict everything. That’s why creating a project stands as a continuous risk. 

On the impossibility of anticipating every hardship, there’s always the last resort: face the problem and take care of it.

The truth is, you don’t have to think of this as an inevitability but instead as the ultimate tool to bring your project to desirable success. 

We introduce you to the concept of a Tiger team, the element you were looking for to dissolve your issues smoothly.

In this article, you’ll find out precisely what a Tiger team is and who creates it, how and when to use it, along with its benefits and common mistakes.

a tiger team of four solving a problem in a project

What is a Tiger team?

A Tiger team stands as a specialized and cross-functional team that has a sole purpose: to solve a specific problem that is happening within your project.

Being created in a military context and in the 70s, this served as an inspiration for the future, especially within various industries.

To this day, many companies use this type of proactive team to have specialized personnel that can detect and fix the problem faster. This brings a lot of relief to every project manager that now shares a specialized team, as well as the remaining and trusting members that can continue on their planned tasks. 

There are two paths down the Tiger team: 

  • Option A – You create a Tiger team and select the team members that will complete it. During the problem-solving period, their only task is to eliminate the problem. Once they fix it, they can return to their usual tasks.
  • Option B – You create a Tiger team and select the team members in addition to what they’re already doing. This means that they continue to take care of common tasks, as well as to work towards the resolution of said problem. In this case, you need to pick a prioritization technique to get things done.

When to build a Tiger team?

A Tiger team, in the context of a company and/or a project, looks to solve critical and crucial problems that are happening within any given project at hand. 

When you’re faced with simple and typical problems that could easily be solved, there’s no need to create this specific team. On the other hand, when you find real-size issues of high magnitude, that’s when it’s time to assemble a Tiger team. 

Who makes up a Tiger team?

It depends on your company, stakeholders, and/or project managers to define the need to assemble a Tiger team. The assembly is built upon the concept of the problem, its investigation, and the timing to solve it.

The ideal Tiger team would be a group of senior-level experts within the various departments of every company, such as finance, marketing, IT, design, and many more.

You must always choose the finest team members for them to have the right skills to solve the problem.

Amongst all the team members, make sure you choose the best experts designed for your problem. There must be a large spectrum of skills available so that the rate of success can be up to 100%. 

10 Benefits of using a Tiger team

Assembling or being in a Tiger team shares many advantages to your project, especially when it comes to eliminating potential problems. Of course, as a new structure that you need to adapt, it may not be suitable for you.

You might already have an established procedure that you obey when it’s time, but the assembling of a Tiger team could evolve your project in ways you can’t imagine.

Discover below what are the benefits of this effective “tool”:

  1. A team created of experts with numerous skills;
  2. Promote constant communication through all departments and collaboration if need be;
  3. Enable to make difficult decisions and to act on them with precision;
  4. Ability to investigate the problem through different views;
  5. Quicker to identify the cause of the problem and its fixing;
  6. Innovation in the area of product development;
  7. Improvement of the products and/or services within any given project, as well as customer service;
  8. Insightful for future developments and the company’s growth;
  9. Help on reducing of costs for the company;
  10. Contribution to the significant rise in sales.

How to form an effective Tiger team

Although the concept of a Tiger team seems simple, it features specific rules you must follow to create a great and effective team.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it, as you’ve seen through the various benefits you can enjoy from the application of this method. There are three main steps that you need:

  1. Figure out the issue

A Tiger team’s purpose is to fix a specific and critical problem around your project. Of course, the first step you must take is to clarify the actual issue.

It’s essential to define the team’s course of action and context. The perfect process is to create a briefing with every important detail to communicate to your Tiger team.

Read our post and get the best tips to improve your team communication.

  1. List the skills and requirements needed to fix the problem

Now that you’ve found the critical problem that you have to attend to, it’s time to get started. Once you’ve seen what it’s all about, you know to prepare a list of the skills you need.

Make sure you gather everything you need and be specific so there’s no margin of error regarding the expertise of each Tiger team member. 

  1. Define the best selection of colleagues to join your Tiger team

Upon elaborating on the list of skills and requirements, you need teammates to fulfill those needs. Imagine that you’re building a high-performing team. You need the best.

Analyze each team member, interview them if you must, and trace the ones indispensable to your Tiger team.

To optimize the team and the problem-fixing itself, it’s crucial that you only concentrate on people that would completely identify with the matter at hand.

What to avoid while managing a Tiger team

Tiger teams are recognized for their unique benefits and capability to ensure the best possible outcome for every project you may have.

Nonetheless, there’s still a large possibility of things not going your way, either from internal or external factors. 

However, you know what could go wrong, and you could anticipate those behaviors from happening.

Below you’ll find a selection of mistakes that would be advisable for you to avoid soon when involved in Tiger teams:

  1. If you don’t have a designed strategy

Without any planning, your Tiger team won’t be able to dissolve the problem you’re having in your project.

Make sure there’s a clear step-by-step strategy to guide this team through the problem and the skill it needs to eliminate.

  1. If you don’t get to the bottom of the problem 

It won’t be possible if you don’t provide a full briefing of the problem ahead, along with its symptoms and requirements to eliminate.

Keep your team informed of all the details so they can successfully solve your project’s issue.

  1. If you let your Tiger team wander to other subjects

Upon resolving the issue you want to be solved, there’s a chance that your Tiger team could wound up in some discussions that weren’t related to the problem in the first place.

You must keep your team focused and committed to reaching the final point.

  1. If you don’t keep notes of all the steps of the Tiger team

For every procedure a Tiger team gets involved in, it’s easy to forget the need to document everything. Throughout the journey to resolving the problem, they must leave documents and guides that could help other teams in the future. It could be a major help in solving different problems along the way.


Where did Tiger teams originate?

The “Tiger team” concept takes us back to 1970 in the military setting. It has become famous since, due to NASA’s creation of a Tiger team on the mediatic Apollo 13 mission.

What’s the size of a Tiger team?

There’s no specific number to define a Tiger team. To be a great one, it needs to concentrate on the best selection of senior-level members with a high set of skills so that every area is covered. 


As this article arrives at the finish line, it’s important to remember the significance of Tiger teams in the world of the project’s problem-solving. 

For the healthy development of every project, it’s necessary to be aware of any potential issues to solve them quickly and effectively. 

This method brings a lot of benefits to you and your team, but only if you follow the simple and clear rules that are established. 

If you’re not yet convinced to give it a go-through this approach, try it at least once. It will surely change your perspective on the way you work, as well it will transform your work structure for the better.

You might be interested in: