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5 Ways to Make Your Team Function as a Unified Machine

Symbolically, things like Voltron and the Megazords just work. The idea of a team uniting its powers and working in tandem to bring down a giant monster is something we can all relate to—metaphorically, at least. In an article for CIO.com, Bas de Baat shares five tips to enable a team to work in sync together to reach project goals:

  1. Clarify the purpose.
  2. Focus the team.
  3. Establish one communication matrix.
  4. Give immediate feedback.
  5. Clear the way.

Defender of the Project Universe

Clarifying the purpose goes beyond ensuring that the team understands what the sponsor wants. It also entails explaining why team members should care about the project. On some level, the project’s success should further team members’ personal goals too. If the project exists in a vacuum where only a scarce few will benefit from it, maybe the project should not be happening at all.

Focusing the team actually requires being a little cross-eyed—looking at what is required right now and what will be required in the future. The start of the project is incidentally the time to be thinking about what the end should look like. But once the project is well underway, perspective should be refreshed regularly so no tunnel vision develops. The two biggest things to excise from the team are distractions and procrastination, the latter of which could be harder to monitor. The only way to remove procrastination is to reiterate the “what’s in it for me” aspect of clarifying the purpose.

About forming one communication matrix, de Baat is not necessarily referring to getting everybody a Skype account. He is actually talking about creating a situation where everyone uses the same language to discuss the project. The most direct way to establish this is to provide training to the team on any aspects of the project that are new.

Giving immediate feedback on a project has two results: It helps the team improve, and it maintains the demanded level of quality for project success. De Baat goes on to describe the results of feedback like this:

The best project teams have a reversed balloon effect in failures. Or, in other words, they get less and less over time. That can only happen when people can speak freely about mistakes and where leadership fosters progressive learning. One of the things that I frequently do in projects is to hold daily stand-up meetings (even when it is a waterfall project) where team members speak about what has transpired, what is up next and what is holding them up. This can become an effective communication platform over-time when there is the right level of interaction.

Finally, clearing the way simply means being able to identify barriers to team productivity and removing them. Pause work if there is someone higher up who must be contacted before work can resume, but keep the team very closely in the loop about developments. The Red Ranger especially must watch over and value the input of the other Rangers.

You can view the original article here: http://www.cio.com/article/3097004/project-management/how-do-you-put-your-project-team-in-the-zone.html

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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