What is project management ?

Almost any human activity that involves carrying out a non-repetitive task can be a project. So we are all project managers! We all practise project management (PM).

But there is a big difference between carrying out a very simple project involving one or two people and one involving a complex mix of people, organisations and tasks.

This has been true for millennia, but large-scale projects like the Pyramids often used rather simple control and resource techniques including brute force to ‘motivate’ the workforce!

The art of planning for the future has always been a human trait. In essence a project can be captured on paper with a few simple elements: a start date, an end date, the tasks that have to be carried out and when they should be finished, and some idea of the resources (people, machines etc) that will be needed during the course of the project.

When the plan starts to involve different things happening at different times, some of which are dependent on each other, plus resources required at different times and in different quantities and perhaps working at different rates, the paper plan could start to cover a vast area and be unreadable.

Planning a project ( steps )

Determine the specifications

Providing structure

Work Breakdown Structure

Task Allocation

Guesstimation

Establishing controls

The artistry in planning

Who know best?

Dangers in review

Testing and Quality

Fitness for purpose

Fighting for time

Planning for error

Post-mortem

Planning for the future

Team building and group leadership

Building the Winning Team

“Everyone wants to feel that they are on a winning team, that the company is moving ahead, and that they are an integral part of the group.”

Beyond Hiring Great People
Building the winning team requires more than just hiring a bunch of talented people.

It means hiring people who will work well together.

It means developing a shared vision and commitment.

It means physically bringing people together in formal group meetings for open discussion of broad-based issues.

It means encouraging positive, informal interactions between group members.

It means instilling a “winning” attitude throughout the organization.

It means watching for and quickly trying to reverse team-building problems such as jealousy, cynicism, and defensive behavior.

Get ‘Em To “Buy In”!
To build the winning team, you not only need to show people what direction the company is headed in, but you need to get them to “buy into” this direction. Otherwise, you can’t expect people to support a group if they don’t agree with where it’s headed or, worse, don’t even know where it’s headed.

Specifically, you need to show people:
Your vision for the future.
Your strategy for getting there.
Why this is the best strategy.
Every achievement that indicates this team is winning.
This is not a one-time discussion or announcement.

You need to constantly remind people what the organization stands for and that it does indeed hold a bright future for them!

Meetings Build Teams
Part of building the winning team is having some group meetings. Meetings, or even parties or celebrations, with as many people as possible from the entire organization, help build a feeling of solidarity throughout the organization.

But it is also important to have everyone participate in smaller group meetings where some work is done or some decisions are made. This makes people feel that they aren’t just part of some big group, but that they are an active, important part of a team.

For key managers, or people in your work group, you should have an interactive meeting once per week-not a meeting where you just make announcements and summarize the work that’s been done and needs to be done, but a meeting where everyone has an opportunity to give feedback on substantive issues.

Getting People To Work Together
Perhaps the most difficult part of building a winning team is encouraging positive, informal interaction between team members when you are not present. Here are some thoughts on this:
Have team members take part in the hiring process of new team members.
Assign specific projects for two team members to work on together.
Try to arrange for close proximity of offices.
Create an incentive-pay plan based on common goals such as profitability.
Have a specific part of the salary review dependent upon “interaction with others.”
Take your team off-site for formal meetings as well as casual get-togethers to build a sense of bonding.

Watch Out For Team Destroyers!
Here are some of the problems that can rip the team-building process apart.

Jealousy. Be on guard for jealousy whenever a new member is hired into the group. Go out of your way to tell other team members how much their work is appreciated.

Cynicism. Some people are just negative by nature. Others might feel your company can’t possibly prosper or they just don’t like small companies, big companies, or whatever . . . . Be sure you are emphasizing the company’s positive achievements to the group as a whole. And don’t hesitate to confront any openly cynical individual and demand their behavior change at once.

Lack of confidence. Some people lack confidence in themselves and view attacks on their opinions as attacks on themselves, responding with statements like “Are you telling me my fifteen years of experience don’t matter?” Stop any discussion like this immediately and, in a private one-on-one meeting, patiently point out the defensive behavior.

* Source Streetwise Small Business Start-Up

Characteristics of High Performance Teams

  1. Participative Leadership
  2. Responsive
  3. Aligned on Purpose
  4. Communicative
  5. Task Focused
  6. Problem Solving
  7. Shared Responsibility
  8. Innovative

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