Project Management

What would I want to receive from my team members this holiday season?

From the Easy in theory, difficult in practice Blog
My musings on project management, project portfolio management and change management. I'm a firm believer that a pragmatic approach to organizational change that addresses process & technology, but primarily, people will maximize chances for success. This blog contains articles which I've previously written and published as well as new content.

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With under a week till Christmas 2019, Mike Cohn wrote a good article about what wishes team members might want to have granted this holiday season from their Agile Leads, Product Owners and People Managers.

But even if each of these roles were to grant all the wishes which Mike listed, there is one more role which needs to be considered, namely their fellow team members.

Give me a hand

One of the differences between a group of individuals and a real team is that with the latter we will see team members helping each other out without an explicit request for assistance being made. While it is desirable for team members to ask for assistance during events such as a daily standup, many times the need for help might emerge suddenly and if someone else on the team sees that their teammate is struggling they can provide assistance in a timely manner.

This behavior is often seen in professional sport teams. When an ice hockey goaltender is caught far out of their net while clearing the puck, one of their other team members who has much less protective equipment might put themselves in the line of shots until the goalie is able to get back in the crease. You'll almost never hear the goalie verbally request this assistance, but the teammate sees the need and helps out regardless.

Help me improve

While there are always a few people who don't like hearing the truth, most of us prefer to find out when we could have done something better.

Retrospectives are one forum in which teams can share what's working well or poorly, but these events might not be the best setting for providing one-to-one feedback as they are a group ceremony and the feedback will usually have been delayed by a few days.

I've written previously about the importance of radical candor - most team members would want their peers to provide constructive feedback directly while still demonstrating that they care about them. This is especially critical when the behavior violates the working agreements defined by the team. If the offending team member does not receive direct and caring feedback, their behavior is likely to recur and they could find themselves isolated and ostracized by the rest of the team without knowing what they did to deserve this.

One way to turn these wishes into a self-fulfilling prophecy is to model the behaviors which we would like to see from our team members. When you perceive that a team mate needs help, ask if they would like it before they ask you for it. When you see them doing something wrong, ask for permission to provide them with feedback.

Let's be the change we wish to see within our teams!



Posted on: December 22, 2019 06:59 AM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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Dear Kiron
Interesting reflection on the topic.

Thanks for sharing

Memorable: "Let's be the change we want to see within our teams!"

I wish you a happy holiday

This in an ideal world it Will be the right approach, but most of times this things take time and the project can't wait. But yeah its a good principle and I agree with the thougths.

I wish all a happy holiday.

Thanks Luis & Alexandre, and happy holidays to you both!

Oh no. You brought in a sports analogy. anxiously awaits

Thanks, Kiron. So important to display the behaviors expected out of others. Happy holidays, friend. Hope our paths cross again in Seattle.

How about your team saying "Merry Christmas", if that is still allowed in Canada ;-) Thanks for the post Kiron.

Thanks Andrew & Sante & a merry Christmas to both of you!

As always, thank you for the insightful words, Kiron. I wish you a wonderful holiday season with those you love. I have learned so much from you this year - thank you for being a guiding light for so many of us.

Thanks so much for the kind words, Lori - it means a lot to me, especially at this time of year! Enjoy the holidays with your family, and I hope we meet again in 2020!

Kiron, So important some people in the project realize that it is the team that makes the project a success, not one individual. Providing help to a team member can be done anytime in a project, often you don't need to ask you know the level of openness.

Great points Kiron, those are key values and a recipe for a long-term successful team.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Kiron. Best wishes in 2020.

Cheers !

Happy holidays to you too, Rami! Hopefully we get a chance to meet in person and share a single malt Scotch or a couple of Old Fashioned's in person in 2020!

I certainly look forward to that, Kiron - Cheers !

Count me in gents! Hopefully in Seattle :)

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"Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems."

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