10 Aug

Team Dynamics and Purple Aliens

The team is assembled, the project manager assigned (you!), the end goal has been decided and it is time to get the project on the road.

How do you get your team to want to participate, deliver the goods and enjoy the project at the same time?

Here are three simple steps:

  1. Start with a Norming Kick-off meeting, which explains the project, the timeframes, the requirements, the roles & responsibilities of each team member, the risks, issues & assumptions, the housekeeping (templates, per diems etc.), the rules of engagement (e.g. status meeting every Thursday at 10:00AM, hours of availability etc.) and any concerns or worries that the team members themselves may have. Handle all of this upfront and your project will find it’s ‘Can’.
  2. Build confidence in each team member by understanding their abilities and their fears, discuss these with them and encourage as needed. If you build up your team members confidence and they really feel you have their back, they will feel empowered and want to perform. It’s your job to support everyone so they can find their ‘Can’.
  3. The tone of the project is your responsibility. Looking forward to work is fabulous! Projects can be stressful and frankly difficult at times. It is the fun bits that get your team through. Little things like:
    1. If a document has been created for review, add in a line somewhere like “Purple aliens mostly like to dress in yellow clothes”. At the start of the meeting to review the document have prizes for anyone who discovered anything unusual in the document. It always gets a laugh; with the added bonus of ensuring everyone will always review your documents in the future!
    2. If anyone is late for a meeting they must do a mandatory party piece (unless they have an extraordinarily good excuse), a joke, a song, a story etc. is required  – there is no escape – you will find people rarely come late to your meetings again unless they have a talent they want to showcase!
    3. Make time for work free chats – a lunch a week or pizza on a Friday, online or in person. Getting to know the people you work with is invaluable and the things you discover about your team can be amazing – one of the quietest guys on one of our projects turned out to be a Rock star on the weekends – no one knew!

Don’t underestimate the value of these simple steps they can be the difference between a teams success and failure.

Deirdre & Máire  – The queens of ‘Can’!