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MANAGEMENT: How to manage and control your team's performance the night before deliverable?
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How to manage and control your team's performance the night before deliverable?

BT 201708 MANAGEMENT 04在公司团队作战的项目工作中,临时抱佛脚显然是最糟糕的工作状态,通常我们都会为每个工作项目精心策划、提前准备并且为临时突发状况留足时间以便积极应对。但是在实际工作中,事情往往没有那么顺利,你一定会遇到一些时间紧、任务重的工作需要在短期内全部完成。这种时候如何协调团队合作,如何发挥每个人的力量在项目交付期内搞定所有内容就非常考验领导者的能力了。笔者恰好经历过这样的一次“突击”团队工作并成功完成,以下有几点经验希望可以帮到大家。


首先,每个项目最终的成果都是为客户解决问题、排除问题的,所以在最开始的时候确保团队的每位成员都清楚最终目标是成功完成项目的第一步。明确最终目标之外,还需要明确每一阶段的工作节点,在大目标中设置小目标的方式可以给团队成员更大的成就感并鼓励大家继续完成接下来的任务。在团队合作中,为每个人分配适合他们的工作并清晰划定工作范围可以保障大家的办事效率,最大限度降低沟通成本,节省时间。但降低沟通成本不意味着拒绝沟通,相反,开诚布公地提出问题,共同讨论可行解决方案有助于推动项目进展。作为团队领导者,你还需要懂得适时鼓舞士气:让大家看到目标越来越近,成功近在咫尺,并肯定每个人的工作成果。同时,领导者还要记得定时查看工作进度,根据一切变化情况对未来的步骤做出调整。


如果下一次命运和你开了一个玩笑,短期内必须完成某项任务的话,不妨试试我提到的方法,切记在忙于工作时不要忘了你的终极目标。

BT 201708 MANAGEMENT 0
In business, it is normal practice to have tight schedules and after a few years spent working people usually learn what the best solution is, namely do not work the night before the deadline. Over time, this takeaway allowed me to develop efficient solutions when it came to dealing and planning the team's work.

While facing a project, it is generally very useful to space out and have a clear mind to approach the big picture problem, which lately will be segmented in a multitude of smaller and more manageable tasks. With a clear list of action items in mind, start prioritizing the most relevant items and allocate duration to each task so to fill in the schedule. This way it is possible to rip the benefit of developing a neat war plan and of creating a baseline against which to benchmark progress. Getting at this point ensures pretty much meeting a deadline. Improvements can include considering some contingency and celebrate victory afterwards.

BT 201708 MANAGEMENT 01Real life, as we all know, has a strange sense of humour and sometimes it is impossible to avoid working late on a project due tomorrow. Work progress will be underwhelming during execution, team will get tired and frustration will increase, but the deadline will not move. As the environment changes, it is impossible to apply the old frameworks and the need to develop a new strategy becomes apparent.

It was during my MBA that I started experiencing such situations more often given the intensity of academic life. One of the reasons behind the high workload is to push individuals to work in teams realising that it is the only way to accomplish large tasks. The great positive side is learning how people - including me - behave under stress so as to develop strategies to become effective quickly. And so we did. Take as an example leading the preparation of a marketing plan for a large French firm working in FMCG with deadline on the 14th of February, a project for which we started working only 10 days earlier due to mid-term exams. It was clear since the first weekend spent on the project that it was going to call for every minute of the time allowed.

As envisaged, my team and I found ourselves working the night before the deadline but at that point it was easier to manage and control the team's performance during the last sprint by paying attention to few simple actions:

-Make sure the big picture is clear to everyone.
1.During the last hours, it is all about execution and problem solving, so from the very beginning it is important to have a clear direction towards which the whole team is rowing.
2.Defining all the steps till success helps clear the unknowns so the whole team will know exactly how to get to the end.
3.I find very useful during long hours of niche problem solving to step back, have the team look at the final aim and decide on whether the solution or the time spent are acceptable.


-Make one master list of action items that need to be completed.
1.Having one deliverables master list sets the tone for the discussion as it is a baseline against which to check progress.
2.It is satisfying for many people to cross completed actions off lists till everything is completed and that motivation becomes extremely important towards the end of the project.
3.It acts as a count-down toward the end, you can picture it as the light at the end of the tunnel revealing itself – and motivating the team!


- Have clearly defined roles with assigned tasks, expectations and responsibilities.
Clear directions for team members remove the need for re-planning, task switching and time consuming discussions.


- Reallocate resources quickly as they free up.
All the planning in the world cannot avoid last minute changes. A team leader in such a situation should have a 36000 ft. view of the project and be quick to reallocate resources according to the needs thus wasting no time.


- Communicate problems openly and quickly.
There is no time to hide mistakes or to over-discuss topics. Being upfront with the team helps in creating the right atmosphere for them to ask for help and be loud and clear about roadblocks.


- Motivate the team.
Motivation is fuel for brains, more than caffeine. Highlight how everyone is learning from the experience, how important the job done is or how close is the end since these are all useful tactics to make the most of the resources available.


- Continually track progress.
Check the status of the activities against predictions as it helps control the situation while increasing responsiveness to inputs and fire-fighting capacity.


- Check the room.
1. Making a visual check of what is going on in the room helps the team leader understand the energy available and the attitude. This important piece of information can be utilized to plan the next motivation round, pull people back on track and retouch projections.
2. Checking the progress with team members is necessary to update the master to-do list so as to have a better understanding of the direction taken.


Having a clear approach to the last mile can be the differentiator factor between having successfully met the deadline and missing it. We managed to submit our marketing plan a few minutes before the closing hour and the discussion that followed was very rewarding, as was the whole experience of achieving something that seemed completely out of reach.


Next time when real life requires you to work the night before deliverable, be prepared to go to war by not losing sight of the target, being responsive to changes and caring for the team.


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