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Unformatted text preview: high a likelihood of failure—and have your trainer/consultant
walk the team through the steps. This is the hand-holding phase, which I have found to be essential (as
have a number of major companies with which I have worked). It really helps to have someone help the
team practice what it has learned. All new procedures feel awkward when you first try them, and an
outside expert makes things go smoother. In addition, an outsider can be more objective than members
of the team.
• Plan small wins for people. Forget the Pareto principle. It’s wrong, even from an economic point of
view. According to Pareto, you should begin with your most important problems, solve them, and then
move on to the simpler ones. Sounds like good economic sense, but it isn’t. It ignores the fact that the
biggest problem is also likely to be the hardest to tackle, so people are more likely to fail, become
demoralized, and give up. No sports team ranked tenth would want to play the top-ranked team for its
first game. It would rather play the ninth-ranked team, maybe, or even the eleventh. Don’t set the team
up to be slaughtered!
• Practice a lot of MBWA (management by walking around) as the project progresses, but do it to be
helpful, not in the blame-and-punishment mode. Give people strokes for letting you know about
problems early, rather than after they have turned into disasters. Don’t be too quick to help, though.
Give people time to solve the problems themselves. Just ask them to keep you informed, and tell them
to let you know if they need help. Be a resource, not a policeman.
• Do audits to learn, and try to improve whenever possible.
• If you find you have a problem individual on your team, deal with that person as soon as possible. If
you don’t know how to handle the problem, talk to someone who has the experience and who can help
you. Don’t ignore the problem, as it can wreck your entire team.
• Be very pro-active, not reactive. Take the lead. Break roadblocks for your team members. Go to bat
• Have team members make presentations to senior management on their part of the job. Give them
credit for their contributions. Build ownership.
• If you are running a project to which people are temporarily assigned while still reporting to their
own bosses (matrix organization), keep their managers informed about what they are doing. Try to
build good relations with those managers. You may need their support to get the job done.
• You may find that you have to co-locate the people doing activities on the project’s critical path so
that you don’t have them constantly pulled off to do other jobs. This method is being used more and
more by major corporations for highly critical projects.
• It may be useful to consider setting up a project support person or office to do all scheduling for your
project managers. Rather than have everyone trying to master the scheduling software, it might be
better to train one or two people to competence le...
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- Fall '13