How To Protect Your Team’s Time

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Categories: Leadership, Teams


by Christian Bisson, PMP

All team members must make—and meet—commitments to keep a project on track. However, it’s the project manager’s job to foster the conditions that will allow the team to deliver on its commitments.

Here are three tips to help you protect team members’ time — and ensure they’ll have the bandwidth to keep their promises.

1. Trust your team.

It can be tempting to ignore team members when they warn that there’s too much work to be done in a given amount of time. You may think they should simply push through. But if the project manager doesn’t commit to realistic deliverables—and find backup when necessary—problems just compound.

Take agile teams. It they commit to more work in a sprint than they feel they can complete, it will only make matters worse when unfinished work passes on to the next sprint. But if they commit to less work and get it all done, you might be surprised to find additional work added to the sprint, since the team is performing better than planned.

2. Clarify requirements and objectives.

A team can easily lose time trying to get up to speed. As a project manager, you can reduce confusion and delays by reviewing requirements and answering questions at the outset.

For example, if you’re working on a project with wireframes or designs, you may ask a team member to complete a simple task, like display the product page.

The team member that commits to this could then deliver half of what you expected simply because he or she didn’t have the full picture. Perhaps he or she thought only the desktop version of the page was needed and didn’t bother with the responsive design as you had expected. If you review instructions before work starts, you’ll have the opportunity to catch these types of discrepancies.

3. Protect their priorities.

If team members are constantly interrupted, their efficiency drops. You can help them focus in a few different ways:

  • Avoid ad-hoc status requests. Plan status meetings (i.e. daily scrums) or ask the team to reach out to you when they need something instead of you interrupting them to ask what they need.
  • Insulate them from changes. Changes are to be expected in projects — and it’s your job to deal with them so the team can remain focused on their work.
  • Be the shield. If another stakeholder — for example, a senior manager — interrupts the team with questions or requests, insist he or she go through you to obtain 
Posted by Christian Bisson on: March 09, 2017 09:13 PM | Permalink

Comments (18)

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Merci Christian
It should inspired some PM to review actual way to work.

Thank you Christian. Important key points to be cognizant of.

Thanks...


Nice points, thanks for sharing to PM community.....

PM to ensure to keep this points on regular review meetings, in case of any deviation it should be ironed out immediately....



Thank you for the information. At times feels like an authoritarian project management approach dissolves any framework and a PM can feel like almost impossible to deliver project successfully. With that being said, trusting the project team will definitely impact the way team performs. Allowing the SME's to provide feedback on workload (when resources are shared between operations and projects) will provide an opportunity to better planning / scheduling including requirements clarity, and stakeholder / sponsor priorities. Once again thank you for bringing this topic.

Thanks for the information Christian Bisson, - kind of play the Scrum Master role.

Nice tips christian. Thanks!

Good points

These are great ways to shepherd and inspire teams. Thank you!

Nice points sir, and is there any use of project integration process flow(from PMBOK) over each phase of project life cycle for an accurate deliverables...!??

Nareshkumar, I'm not sure I understand your question, at first glance I would say "yes", but was there something more specific you were asking?

Regards.

Yeah of course, this project integration plays a major role from an initiation phase to closure phase of a project life cycle by coordinating all the other nine knowledge areas.

So, is there any scope for considering the lag occurs(Say Critical activity) during deliverables of each phases using the project integration flow...?

Thanks Christian, good points!

Good work. Regular capsule for project stakeholders consumption on a regular basis.

Thanks for the informative article

Merci, Christian. These are always good tips for project managers to keep in mind.

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