4.3 Leading and Managing the Team

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Huge leadership skill that really helps the project move forward, say thanks once in awhile to people. The people that work on these projects are, often weird little parts of the world, living in little huts all over the place. And we need to manage all of the stakeholders and the project team, and the communication plan will be a big important part of that.

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Leading and Managing the Project Team. We want everyone to work well on this team together. We’re going to delegate tasks to people. Sometimes that might be difficult to delegate these tasks to people for a number of different reasons. We just don’t really believe that team members can do these tasks all that well. They certainly can’t do it as well as we can. You just don’t wanna take the time to instruct anybody on how to do it. I’ll just do it myself. It’s easier than trying to tell people how to do it. The project manager might just be too egotistical. You might have seen project managers who are not good at delegating. They have a great project team, and the project manager still seems to be doing everything and the team’s sitting around doing not very much. It might also be difficult to accept some of these tasks if you’re a project team member. There are no rewards for doing this. Guess what? I’m already working a 50 hour week, and all the sudden you want me to work some more on another project? What would I get for that? A whole bunch of headache and pain and, and toil here. They’re insecure cuz they don’t really know if they can do a good job on this project. They don’t really have the skills to do this, so they’re pretty sure they can’t do a good job on the project. So they’re really insecure about doing this now. They simply just don’t wanna do the task. All of you have something that you’re really good at. You just don’t wanna do this anymore. You don’t like doing it. You’ve done enough of it in your life. Simply don’t wanna do it. You just don’t trust the project manager or the organization, something, you know, you’re just not really sure about working on this project. What we’re gonna do is, we’re going to evaluate potential team members to see if we think that they’re going to be able to do the project, and they will do the project. Here’s a little list of things we can take a look at. Daily job duties. Do we wanna do the same thing on the project that they typically do during the day on their regular job? If they do, yeah, they’re probably pretty good at this. Special skills. Sometimes we find that people have special skills that we didn’t ever really recognize before. And now they get on this project team and realize gee, you know, we need some statistics done on this, and none of us are really good at statistics. Oh, except Karen over there is pretty good at statistics. You know what? Let’s let her do a lot of that. Unique background or education. Some people have gone back to school and continued their education. They may have really great experience at another organization that they haven’t been able to use here at our organization yet. So they’ve got some skills that we could actually draw on. We just haven’t been able to do that yet. Now let’s take a look at can people do thing, or will people do things? Those are, can they do it, will they do it? History of receiving delegated tasks. You all know that some people, you give them a task and they go do that task and they come back way before you thought they were going to do, do this thing. They’re all done, completed, it’s way better than you thought they were going to do it and they’re asking for more work to do. Other people, you give them some task to do, off they go, you never see that person again. So how are they at receiving delegated tasks? Willingness to accept delegated tasks. Willingness to accept training and guidance along the way. Previous experience on a project team. You all know somebody who simply does not work well with other humans. Don’t put them on a project team. If they can’t work well with other people, you don’t want them on your team. You want people that can work well together on teams. Overall level of self-confidence. Typical level of response to being monitored. And this is an interesting one, personal ambitions and desires. If you can put a person on a task that they really wanna work on, it fits in exactly with what they wanna be doing, you’re gonna have a great team member that’s gonna do a great job for you. That also ties in with the thing that we’ve seen called Maslow’s hierarchy. What is this all about? Maslow says there are different motivating forces for us along the way. Physiological, first of all, we just all need air, water, food. Gotta have those things. And we need safety. Well you know, I’ve got some food, I’ve got some water. You know, things are pretty good around here. The environment’s not all that bad. You know, I’d kind of like to get out of the rain. I need a little cave here. I need some heat. Gonna start a little fire. I need some kind of clothing. I’m gonna make some clothing out of some plants or some animal skins or something. Okay, those things are done pretty well. You can’t do anything about this as a project manager. You have to rely on the organization. What do these two levels look like in the modern business world? These look like the salary and benefit package that the people on your project team are receiving. We all wanna have a car we can drive back and forth to work. We wanna have, have a house to live in. We wanna have a retirement plan. We wanna have money put away for our kids’ college. We wanna have some kind of, of health insurance for our family. And if I have to worry about some of those things and you know, I’m worrying about how I’m gonna pay this or take care of that thing back home with the family, I’m not really thinking a lot about the task on the project. So you rely on the organization to do those first two. The second two, that’s you. People wanna work in groups, they wanna work well in groups. That’s your leadership skills. So you put your leadership skills into place, then everybody’s working well together and along the way, everything’s going great. People say, I love working on this team. We do really well. Everything’s going really well. Our project manager has everybody working really well together. We communicate well. We share ideas. We solve problems. We resolve conflict among ourselves. We do everything really well along the way. You know what? I just would like somebody to notice my contributions to the team once in a while. This ego thing comes into play. All you have to do along the way as a project manager is just say thank you to your people now and then. Huge leadership skill that really helps the project move forward, say thanks once in awhile to people. Then we have this last one. You can’t do anything about this one, either. This is self actualization. This is the one that people will work on a task because it’s exactly what they want to do. We talked about that elephant group charging through the little crops in that village in Northern India. There’s a group of people that actually help little villages like that, help little villages grow those kind of crops, help them with agricultural development projects. This group goes around, it’s a non profit organization, they go around the world and they help organ, and they help communities sustain themselves. The people that work on these projects are, often weird little parts of the world, living in little huts all over the place. They don’t get paid very much. Half of them have been captured and held hostage because some revolution popped up around them. They, they don’t have any great luxurious life. They love what they do and they keep going back and doing these projects. As soon as they’re done with one, they go back and do another one. Why? There is no reason at all, except they get a great big feeling in their heart that makes them feel great, evidently. I don’t know what it is. It’s self actualization. They love doing what they do, and they will just continue to do that forever. One of those people has never been back to the United States in 37 years. He went off to one of these projects and has just gone from one to another to another to another. Can’t even figure out any reason to come back here. He just wants to go to another project. Self actualization. If you can find the right task for the right person, turn them loose, all you have to do is point them in the right direction and support them all you possibly can. Executing the project. After we get our project team put together, we’re going to actually do the project. This is the third group that we have in our, our process groups, executing the project. It’s time to just go do it. You’ve got your team put in place. Get them all on the starting blocks and say, okay everybody, ready, set, go. Boom. During that time we may hear, we just want you to get this done faster and cheaper if you possibly can. Why do we wanna do that? Well, we might have to meet some kind of a deadline. We might need to increase profit margins. There just might be some sort of market demand out there. Longer project life cycles. Take advantage of time-limited opportunities. There’s all kinds of numbers that people want, all kinds of reasons people want us to do these things faster and cheaper. What does that look like? All projects should give us more than we put into them. A, this is the investment in the project. It starts there at the beginning. We run this project through a selection process and say yes, we’ll do this project. We plan the project out. We execute the project. And now the project is underway, so A is our investment in the whole thing. B, now we start getting something back out of the project. Something extra in for profit organizations, this is money coming back. In fact, this curve is laid out for new products that are going to be released to markets. So new product development. But it does have something to say for every single project. We need to get more out of the project than we put into it. So that whole little piece beyond B, that’s the extra bit we get out of the project. There’ll be some time out here with its net profit, or for like that group that does those agricultural development projects and helps small communities sustain themselves, I don’t know what the extra is they get out of these projects. But they get something out of it because they keep going and doing these projects. If you’re in a non-profit organization, a government organization, it may be hard to figure out what that extra bid is. Also, if you’re in a for-profit organization, most of us aren’t ever doing a project that goes to a customer outside the organization who’s going to write a check and give us money. We don’t really see that extra profit. Somehow it goes, what we do goes to somebody else inside the organization. So even in for-profit organizations we have to figure out, what is the extra bit we’re getting out of these projects over and above what we’re putting into them? And then there’s this final little bit out here where, okay, we’re gonna wind this project down and be done with it. This thing is really not giving us anything extra anymore. We’re gonna close this thing out and move on to something else. While we’re executing the project, communication is going to be a big thing. The two things during execution we’re really looking at, are we getting the project done? And we need to manage all of the stakeholders and the project team, and the communication plan will be a big important part of that.

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