Very recently, I had an opportunity to put together a team of volunteers, to organize an event. The event was very successful, and there is an immense involvement of the volunteers in making this event a success. These are the same colleagues who work in our projects, yet when they volunteer for an assignment, the ecosystem is altogether different comparing to the regular project work. The speed, morale, ownership, and involvement are tall, and it is a pleasure watching them accomplishing the tasks one after another.
I could not resist my temptation to think what if our project teams consist of ‘volunteers’ instead of ‘resources.’ Sometimes, do we undermine the capability of human potential when we consider them as mere headcount or FTE in a project? Some of the noticeable differences between resources and volunteers from this experience are as below.
"It is his responsibility" vs "Mr. X is doing this, I will still have it checked"
"I will speak to him" vs "I have already spoken to him"
"Power determined by layers and hierarchy" vs "Everyone is equal, the level of empowerment is directly proportional to level of involvement"
"Needs a leader and instruction" vs "Self-lead team, Operates without micro management, provided the vision is clear"
"Designated leaders – static" vs "leaders emerge as per the need and they alternate based on their expertise that suits to the occasion"
"Job description, responsibility and accountability RACI matrix" vs "Loosely defined responsibility, calls people to volunteer to raise for every tasks"
"Tasks assigned by other" vs "Tasks are taken up tasks by self"
How do we convert the FTEs as volunteers in projects? I only scratched the surface of this in my recent work, yet would love to hear from my project management network on their experience and ideas. This looks to have tremendous potential to enhance performance. Saving Changes...
Interesting post..as per me Agile can help in transitioning from FTE to Volunteering mode specified above. Agile framework supports Team Empowerment and hence will enable Team members to lead their planning and delivery on their own. Saving Changes...
Good concept - it is the difference (as Daniel Pink recently podcast) between saying "I have to go the gym" and "I get to the go the gym". A volunteer mindset might result in a higher level of motivation... Saving Changes...