We’ve all had group projects that haven’t gone quite as we would have hoped. In the end, some of the failed projects we participated in can lead to some incredible insights and help us grow as professionals and leaders. Based on my experiences in projects and working on teams, here are a few of my top lessons learned:
1. Make a commitment to the team; not your individual needs
I’ve been on projects when people are looking just to advance themselves or be the leader from the get-go. I love working with people who are going to challenge me and push me as an individual, but, what is wrong is when people are competitive to other team members, instead of pushing the work of the team forward and acting out of self interest. In the end, it will benefit everyone on the team much more to produce a great product and have something to reference back too, instead of someone trying to be in control and damaging morale.
2. Periodic check-points are helpful, stick to your plans
Find a time when everyone is available to meet and stick to that time. Try to avoid getting into the scenario when you have to keep moving things around, consistency is good for check-up meetings.
3. If everyone is getting a long and things are great - look a little closer
Sounds a little goofy - but sometimes when everyone is getting along you are just going through the motions. For groups that have been working together for awhile, challenge the status quo (constructively) and look for ways to improve. This does not necessarily mean re-inventing the wheel, but it could mean finding quick and easy fixes to challenges. I'm not recommending people start fighting and throwing elbows, but showing some emotion is a sign people are invested. Just keep it constructive.
4. Get people working on something they really care about
People need to feel invested in the project, so delegate work out with things they have a passion for and care about. The huge benefit of the group is that you learn from everyone's expertise, so make sure people’s skills are being put to use.
5. Tie your project into a larger scope, give some perspective and meaning to the work
Similar to number four, people want to know that a project has a meaning and will make an impact. Tie the project into your overall agencies/organizational goals, your yearly benchmarks, anything that shows the project, once completed, is contributing to meeting a larger initiative.
There are a lot of lessons that you can learn from groups, what are some of your lessons?
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