Source : Tips for Managing Your Ever-Changing Project Team
“Make Newcomers Welcome”
Some basic points we tend to forget, yet they are truly important!
- Assigning a peer as a mentor to each new team member to help them with acculturation
- Providing basic educational materials about how your project management process works
- Taking time to explain core concepts in meetings instead of assuming everyone is up to speed already
- Encouraging new members to ask clarifying questions either during or after each meeting if they don’t understand something
Address Conflicts Immediately
Sadly enough, seen this one “live” too many times before…
If a team member comes to you with a complaint about a coworker, take it seriously. Often, employees will wait until they are really fed up before they go to management to ask for help with resolving a conflict. When their concerns are dismissed instead of being addressed, they will transfer some of their anger and resentment at their coworker onto the manager who ignored their request for help. You don’t want to become the enemy.
As with everything, don’t let things wait, and get them addressed quickly. And hope you are in a position to manage the situation or to get the escalation right on!
Don’t forget the “Forming, storming, norming & performing“-phases! This cycle restarts every time a new team member joins a team.
I truly enjoyed the “Managing werewolves” article by Michael Lopp.
This isn’t role-playing: this is life or death
Werewolf is a game and games are fictionalized simplifications of life that allow you to explore extremes of social interactions in ways you normally cannot. In real life, there’s a subtle but detectable flow to how a group of people interact. People adopt standard roles and act according to discernible rules. Unfortunately, it’s an impossibly long set of rules, because the rules vary as much as each person is different. In Werewolf, on the other hand, there’s a very small set of rules:
- Villagers, kill Werewolves as best you can.
- Werewolves, kill Villagers as best you can.
- Sleep when you’re told to.
Interwoven within these rules is the actual game, and therein lies the brilliance of a solid game of Werewolf: It’s a crucible of people dynamics, improvisation, and intellectual combat. In just a few short hours of game play, you realistically experience some of the worst meeting scenarios imaginable—and the motivation to handle these scenarios with care and agility because, well, you don’t want to die. I’m optimistic and, sometimes, realistic. I don’t actually believe someone will deliberately lie under normal circumstances, or that they are purely evil. There are those who have agendas that don’t align with mine, which gives them incentive to work against my interests, but they’re not just out to screw me—they’re out to succeed. Just like me. In reality, most meetings aren’t high-pressure, survival-of-the-fittest lynchfests. Many meetings are well structured affairs with hardly a drop of blood spilled. But each time you speak in a meeting, you get a moment in the spotlight to demonstrate that yes, you understand what’s going on, you are clear about the rules of this particular game, and you’re in it to win.
A lot of business models are known:
- Manufacturer (Direct)
Yet you still have to get to the point where you can say… this is it! That’s where Alexander Osterwalder has created a good method to define your business model.
Continue reading “Business modelling in lesser times…”
Huddle is a network of secure online workspaces where you and your team, your customers (even your friends) can come together to work on files, plan projects and collaborate on ideas. Each individual workspace contains files, notes, reminders and information on your project. You can even manage multiple ongoing projects across different teams with huddle.
I came across huddle when looking for a collaboration tool. I found it a very decent solution for groups with a flat structure. You can do the most basic file sharing things at a reasonable price (freemium model, with a fair enterprise pricing model).
The following presentation explains some basics about “People Management”. Like what gets people motivated (pleasure & the avoidance pain), how to get them accounted, management by walking around, …
What are the characteristiccs?
- Stand Up : Everybody stands up, nobody sits down.
- 15 or less: Short session; max. 15min, if possible even shorter
- Token : Only the one holding the token speaks, and (s)he speaks towards the whole group.
- Offline : It isn’t a problem-solving meeting. So issues will be handled -offline- when it become too detailled. Meaning that they will be addressed after the meeting with only the affected persons involved.
What should you discuss?
- Yesterday : What did I do yesterday
- Today : What will I be doing today.
- Obstacles : What’s blocking me.
- Focus : Relevance to the backlog (general todo-list)
Which are the advantages?
- Identify obstacles : The meeting is a tool to identify problems, not to solve them. During the meeting people can indicate that they can assist you with your problem. Yet the actually discussion will be handled offline.
- Set direction and focus : A standup meeting will also help to keep everyone aligned towards the team goal. That way we won’t lose any time on less relevant things.
- Share commitment : We commit ourselves to tasks on a daily basis. By putting them in a group, we’ll be sharing the commitment on these issues (and thus knowing the existence).
- Communicate status : Communicating status is secondary to the identification of problems. Yet it’s a big factor that the key points of everyone’s daily task is know by everyone. The communication aspect isn’t meant to communicate to management, but to the other team members.
- Build a team : Don’t create groups, but create one team by knowing what everyone does.
For more information checkt he links on Wikipedia…
You might remember the Tuckman stages for group development. If you’ve checked up on this, you might have wondered how to manage this.
- Forming: The group comes together and gets to initially know one other and form as a group. During this phase you’ll have to be very direct in your goals, and stay close.
- Storming: A chaotic vying for leadership and trialling of group processes. Here you’ll be applying a coaching attitude.
- Norming: Eventually agreement is reached on how the group operates (norming). You should take part of the group, yet you should only guide them.
- Performing: The group practices its craft and becomes effective in meeting its objectives. You’re comfortable to delegate things, as they are at their peak.
Having a skilled team is one thing, but having a motivated team is what makes the difference. People can go just that extra mile when motivated in the right way. So a mediocre motivated team will outperform a truly skilled yet low morale team any given day. I must admit that the next video isn’t appropriate to use in a business context, yet it’s a nice motivational speech…
Do you think they would have gone the extra inch without the speech? Some might have, but not all… Motivate your team to get the most out of the situation. It will help your project(‘s performance), but also your surroundings… 😉
An old addiction
How strange it may be, recently I rediscovered an old addiction; it’s a game called “Football Manager“. I bet you didn’t see that one coming! 😉 Anyways it’s all about managing a soccer team without actually playing (“touching the ball”) yourself. Just like managing people “in real life”, you have to guide the players towards their objectives (victory). It contains a lot of HR management aspects (the full employee life cycle; hire, coach, manage, fire/retire) and it’s off course combined with the soccer specific tactical aspects.
What has this to do with creativity?
Okay okay… Where it boils down to is that when one builds a team, you have to be careful which players you mix into a team selection and which tactics you apply. One of the key aspects is “creativity”; where it is the main factor to creating opportunities. Yet if you would give everyone a full creative role, then they wouldn’t follow the tactics anymore. Which would lead to a weak backbone/structure of the team, where one would concise goals against.
Creativity Loves Constraint
The next clip is Google’s Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, Marissa Mayer, talking about constraining creativity.
Description: In product development, Google’s Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, believes that a small amount of constraint – whether in file size, pixels, or speed – fosters a lot of innovation. The lesson she shares? Too much creative freedom can make creativity unfocused. A solution with a strict set of barriers yields more concrete solutions.