As a manager, you know that a team project takes a lot more work than meets the eye. Keeping everything running smoothly requires ongoing effort from everyone involved.
Focus on these “behind the scenes” areas to improve your project execution:
1. Support a Team Spirit
At the outset of your project, match team members up in pairs so everyone has someone to turn to when they face an obstacle. Ideally, when any issue comes up, they will work as a team to come up with proposed solutions instead of just bringing all their problems to you to solve. This will give them a greater sense of accomplishment and build team cohesion.
2. Work Step By Step
Create checklists that include small action items that may otherwise be overlooked. The checklists can be used as a template and updated for the next similar project. They help the team accurately perform routine project tasks - pilots and surgeons use checklists to reduce mistakes!
3. Crosscheck All the Way
Assign team members to review each other’s output (using established metrics whenever possible) to ensure that each task is executed properly. That way, you can perform spot checks but won’t have to spend all your time doing quality control.
4. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Start each group meeting with a recap of your overall project goals. Then, you can more readily see if a suggested course of action will bring you closer to these objectives or take you off on a tangent.
5. Have a Backup Plan
Identify the most likely project disruptions in advance and plan for how to deal with these. Also, remain flexible enough to handle the unforeseen. Add contingency resources (e.g. time and expenses for re-work) to your estimate of how long and how much a project will take to complete.
6. Don’t Become Overwhelmed
Task saturation occurs when your team members don’t have the time or the resources to get their jobs done. Combat this by frequent communication. That way, you can identify people who are overwhelmed before they simply start shutting down. Use project management or time tracking tools to evaluate performance and identify areas where you need to get more involved.
This post was inspired by an AfterBurner Flawless Execution workshop I attended. Fighter pilots who had served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps taught me how to use their techniques in my business!