Wouldn’t it be great to have everyone’s attention all the time keeping the project team engaged? Every meeting you see individuals on the edge of their seats, hanging on your every word. What you say drives what they do. How well they do it helps define your success. Its like a well-oiled machine. The whole is much bigger than the sum of the parts…never the other way around. Business like it was meant to be.
This, of course is hard to achieve. Why? Because not all employees and team members buy into the all for one, one for all concept. Not all feel the warmth of working toward a common goal. Some are more focused on personal gain or feel like they know better and can do it better (and no one says that isn’t true, we just need to acknowledge that as a team, not rogue individuals).
So how do we ensure that everyone is on the same page? How do we make sure that our team members are fully engaged and working toward the common goals on the project?
In my experience, it has usually come down to three key concepts that you need to incorporate as part of your best practices when managing the project in order to keep that team on the edge of their seats…
1. Upfront involvement
Project managers can be lone wolves. I know…I can be one at times. My way or the highway. I know what’s best…always. Yes, I can probably be a pain to work with. But when I know that I’m working with high quality, skilled and very competent team members, then I can be an extremely easy person to work with and for. It is about trusting and then actually involving and offloading. You have to let go. And that starts right away in the planning phases. Involve your team members in the upfront project planning process and they will own the project, they will own its success, and they will be much more likely to remain fully engaged throughout the project – rather than just phone their work in as it is assigned. Their tasks will be their tasks that they produce highly effective work on in order to achieve success on the project. So get them assigned to the project as early as is feasibly and financially possible and delegate, delegate, delegate.
2. Up to date status
As important as it is to get your team on board and involved in the upfront project planning process, it is just as important to keep them up to date on the status of the project and every important aspect of it throughout the engagement. Want them to help you keep the budget healthy? Keep them informed of the budget status weekly. That way they know you are managing it closely and they will be more accurate and accountable with their time charging and they will help you keep it on track. The same is true with issues, risks the schedule…everything. Don’t assume they know how things are going…always keep them informed.
3. Customer engagement
Your team wants to feel important. Nothing makes them feel like they are part of the core of the project like getting up in front of the customer and presenting how things are going with their portion of the project. It may scare the bejeebers out of some of them if they haven’t done much customer interfacing before. But it is a good career progression and helps build the project leaders your organization will need in the future. Plus, it shows the customer that you have confidence in your team and it shows your team that you have confidence in them. Win win. And one more thing – it relieves your own workload a bit. Win win win. Engage in a TeamHeadquarters project management demo!