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How to follow up on your project team without micromanaging?
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How to follow up on your project team without micromanaging?
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This is not an easy topic, because at the end of the day you are responsible for the success or failure of the project.

There is no issue when there is a project team working efficiently, SME's works responsible and PMs just needs regular meetings to get current status, generate new risks.

But what happens when your SME's are poorly executing, what if a resource change is not possible?

Sometimes experienced PMs ends up doing SME's work...

As I said, difficult topic.
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If your SME's are poorly executing they need to undergo re-training or additional training and mentoring to address this area of improvement. May I ask, is it a will issue? or skills issue? the reason they are not performing at desired levels.
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1 reply by George Lewis
Mar 19, 2017 6:14 AM
George Lewis
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the question is more around will, or more around cultural or maybe around overallocation... there are situation that a PM cannot intervine when resources are just given, and sometimes there is no time -because of project schedule- to takle the issue as it should.

This an hypothetical situation based on past experiences...
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Mar 19, 2017 5:57 AM
Replying to Jessica De Ocampo
...
If your SME's are poorly executing they need to undergo re-training or additional training and mentoring to address this area of improvement. May I ask, is it a will issue? or skills issue? the reason they are not performing at desired levels.
the question is more around will, or more around cultural or maybe around overallocation... there are situation that a PM cannot intervine when resources are just given, and sometimes there is no time -because of project schedule- to takle the issue as it should.

This an hypothetical situation based on past experiences...
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Open discussion and expectations with the team should have already been set. All timelines, etc., would have been set with the team. Follow up on the agreed upon efforts does not equate to micromanaging. These are two different actions.

Micromanaging is a lack of trust in the actions of a team member in how the work is completed - the specific steps taken in producing deliverables.
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2 replies by George Lewis and Mohammed Khalf Allah
Mar 19, 2017 3:05 PM
George Lewis
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Andrew - I agree
Mar 21, 2017 4:12 AM
Mohammed Khalf Allah
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well said
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If the situation you mentioned that a PM cannot intervene when resources are just given, and sometimes there is no time -because of project schedule- to tackle the issue as it should, then, I agree with Andrew. .
Onset of the project, team ground rules should be established i.e. if you can't deliver, reach out "real time" and another SME will assist and/or will take over the responsibility.
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I don't look at it as following up on them. One of the first things that I do is help them break down the tasks in smaller pieces. This way, there is not a lot of time between tasks. I work in an agile methodology so we make sure we meet on a weekly basis. My hard core team (programmers) and I meet 3 times a week. I remind them of our sprint or phase that is ending and the due dates for the tasks. I use my scrum knowledge to ask the three questions:

What did you do yesterday?
What will you do today?
Are there any issues stopping your progress?

The third question is the real reason I am meeting with them. They know this. I fight for them and I get them what they need to have to get the tasks done on time. They like that they don't need to go to additional meetings to get what they need.

I often will tell them that I'm doing something for me...that I need to have extra meetings to keep me on track. That I need to have extra meetings to learn from them the details of the project. It may not be the only reasons, but it puts it on having the meeting for me not for them.

Its worked so far.
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4 replies by George Lewis, Vincent Guerard, and Wade Harshman
Mar 19, 2017 8:23 AM
George Lewis
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Lisa - you did understand the purpose of question....

Could it be that agile is the answer to this... Maybe...
Mar 19, 2017 4:27 PM
Vincent Guerard
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Lisa I like this kind of approach close to Agile stand-up meeting, but also to coaching.
Mar 19, 2017 4:33 PM
George Lewis
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Hum!, yes you're right, a little bit of coaching help fix any underlying performance issues...
Mar 21, 2017 9:06 AM
Wade Harshman
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Lisa, I also thought of standups. It's a way of touching base with your team on a regular basis without micromanaging. Scrum has some specific rules about standups that apply to this specific question: specifically, standups have time limits. They're intentionally short, and your team must learn to state what's needed and get back to work.

If you're "managing" a team, you should be able to get most of the information you need from your team at these standups, but then you have to trust them to do their jobs. Every time you interrupt them to ask more questions, you slow their progress.

For the good of the group, using regular standup meetings doesn't make you Agile, but it's still a useful tool that any project manager could use.
Network:8106



Mar 19, 2017 7:38 AM
Replying to Lisa Komidar
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I don't look at it as following up on them. One of the first things that I do is help them break down the tasks in smaller pieces. This way, there is not a lot of time between tasks. I work in an agile methodology so we make sure we meet on a weekly basis. My hard core team (programmers) and I meet 3 times a week. I remind them of our sprint or phase that is ending and the due dates for the tasks. I use my scrum knowledge to ask the three questions:

What did you do yesterday?
What will you do today?
Are there any issues stopping your progress?

The third question is the real reason I am meeting with them. They know this. I fight for them and I get them what they need to have to get the tasks done on time. They like that they don't need to go to additional meetings to get what they need.

I often will tell them that I'm doing something for me...that I need to have extra meetings to keep me on track. That I need to have extra meetings to learn from them the details of the project. It may not be the only reasons, but it puts it on having the meeting for me not for them.

Its worked so far.
Lisa - you did understand the purpose of question....

Could it be that agile is the answer to this... Maybe...
Network:116



As Andrew said, dealing with a poorly performing resource isn't 'micromanaging'. Some resources you can leave to their own devices and expect they'll produce deliverables, while others you need to check on several times a day. It's a hassle, but if you can't replace an underperforming resource you'll have to find a way to get acceptable performance out of them. That may involve working with them, or checking their progress frequently.
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1 reply by George Lewis
Mar 19, 2017 3:04 PM
George Lewis
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Eric - I agree
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Mar 19, 2017 8:25 AM
Replying to Eric Simms
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As Andrew said, dealing with a poorly performing resource isn't 'micromanaging'. Some resources you can leave to their own devices and expect they'll produce deliverables, while others you need to check on several times a day. It's a hassle, but if you can't replace an underperforming resource you'll have to find a way to get acceptable performance out of them. That may involve working with them, or checking their progress frequently.
Eric - I agree
Network:8106



Mar 19, 2017 7:05 AM
Replying to Andrew Craig
...
Open discussion and expectations with the team should have already been set. All timelines, etc., would have been set with the team. Follow up on the agreed upon efforts does not equate to micromanaging. These are two different actions.

Micromanaging is a lack of trust in the actions of a team member in how the work is completed - the specific steps taken in producing deliverables.
Andrew - I agree
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