Leadership & group dynamics

1. Job roles

In the field of trail development, typically 5 job roles occur but can be more or less depending on the complexity of the project and level of professionalism in the specific country. Normally, one person can hold more than one role, e.g. The project manager could be the trail designer as well. Eventually he is even the company owner. Within a project, not all job roles must be provided by the same company.

The following paragraphs explain those different job roles. However, there is no need to explain the role of a company owner. All roles have in common that they need to have a deep understanding of the riders needs and the concept of flow on a trail.

1.1 Project manager

The project manager is responsible for the project from a-z. He takes care of the project progress, organizes collaboration, is in close exchange with customer, trail designer and trail boss. The project manager defines target group, budget, eventually a corridor, and so on. For specialist tasks, the project manager needs help from other job roles.

1.2 Trail designer

The trail designer’s main task is to find the optimal layout of the trail given the circumstances. It’s her responsibility and expertise to design a trail that provides the maximum riding experience given constraints such as soil specification, terrain and more. His “product” might be a flagged line, a formal trail specification document or an on-site inspection with the construction manager and project manager.

1.3 Construction manager 

The construction manager is responsible to manage the construction site and to build or maintain the trail based on the trail specifications given. With his team of trail builder’s he creates the actual trail. Normally it is within the trail boss’ competence to deviate partly from the given line due to unexpected impediments such as big, underground rocks.

1.4 Trail builder

The trail builders perform the actual build or maintenance work. Trail build might be specialist in hand building, they might have a machinist background and control the excavator and so on.

The trail builder’s job

As a professional trail builder, you will get paid to build and maintain mountain biking trails. Most likely, you will also do work on other trails such as for hiking or shared use trails. Eventually, you’re being asked for expertise in the trail design process. Doing all that trail builders usually work as a group. Groups can be homogenous or heterogenous. When putting together a work team the following characteristics should be taken into account:

Further readings: