Accepting a management role on a project can be challenging and exciting. Often the challenge comes from getting your team on the same page and working toward the same goals, rather than the technical aspects of the job. Team management ideas are fairly universal but technical teams can use some additional tailored techniques. Unsurprisingly these ideas are related to harnessing the power of AI and apps to get things done in the most effective way. Use these ideas to set your IT team set up for success.
If your team is about to launch into a project, it helps to communicate very clearly from the beginning. Every member of the team should understand the endpoint of the project and their role in getting there. Timelines play large part in the successful delivery of projects. Check in periodically to keep everyone on track.
Choose a single daily priority
It’s an old management trick but a good one – make sure each team member is choosing a single priority for the day. When to-do lists are long, focus is often divided and the overall effectiveness declines. Have everyone name their most important task in the morning and stick to it. Other items will come up of course, but encourage them to return to their first priority as soon as they can.
A longer leash
If you’ve been able to select your own team you will know if this is something you’ll be comfortable implementing. Once you’ve established your goals, timelines and standard operating procedures, give your team enough autonomy to complete their tasks in the way that works for them. Let them get it done without micromanaging their decisions. The freedom will allow them to find their own solutions and feel empowered to make decisions. Regular check ins will help reduce anxiety and give you the chance to step in early if too much freedom isn’t working.
Smaller project teams get things done
You may be overseeing a large project with a vast amount of moving parts and deliverables. Break down your team into smaller, project-based groups. These smaller groups can focus on delivering discrete segments end-to-end. Smaller teams work well together, stay focussed and can be redeployed as soon as their mini-project is delivered.
If your IT team is working on delivering a large rollout or project, it’s smart to automate where you can. This will free up staff to work on the stuff that matters. Get any repetitive or predictable work done automatically, or schedule reminders. Base your projects in the cloud when possible to maintain access and harness the power of large-scale servers.
Right person for the right job
You’ll need to choose the right person for the right job when you’re managing your IT team. Base your HR decisions on applications but also on your internal review data. How have your team members performed on similar tasks? Do they have a particular interest or aptitude for a certain area? Conversely, if you know there’s someone who shouldn’t be on board, act early to have them redirected to a more suitable role.
Foster a deliberate communication environment within your teams and as an overall management strategy. When team members feel free to suggest innovative ideas, offer critiques and take suggestions on board the overall quality of deliverables should increase. If open communication isn’t encouraged, issues can fester and cause more problems later on.
Determine goals and priorities
As you plan your project you will determine that some tasks are important while others are urgent. This is not a new paradigm in task management, but it applies equally well to team management. When you triage team requests, use the urgent/important framework to help you prioritise. Help your teams to understand where tasks fall on the continuum. This will help them to choose their daily priority (above), as important tasks continue to get attention alongside putting out fires.
Transparent task management systems
Using collaborative billboard style task management systems can help everyone get across the scope of the project. It helps managers to see how tasks are progressing, and who is overloaded or underperforming. When all staff can see everyone’s workload, it leads to a more understanding environment. Smaller teams can easily select what tasks need to be done and there is group satisfaction gained from seeing tasked get ticked off and goals completed. A friendly sense of competition between teams can be fostered under the right circumstances, too.
Time management training
Get everyone on board with how time management practices can help create a good work flow for individuals and how that plays into small team and whole project goals. Introduce them to any time management software you will deploy, and how the schedule will play out daily. If the teams are prepared for a short daily brief or regular reporting schedule it will help them to get organised quicker and will eliminate a muddle-through stage where everyone tries to learn the managers expectations through trial and error.
Align with company goals
Finally, get your team goals aligned with the company goals. There is little more frustrating that being asked to work on something that has a vague outcome or no visible relevance to the bigger picture. Allow the team to see how the project drives the company forward, and how valuable it will be to them. Connect the company goals to how the individuals will benefit. Goals based on deliverables or deadlines can tie into this quite well and communicate the value of the work the team is being asked to do.
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