Projects and Will Rogers

The Will Rogers and Soapsuds statue at Texas T...

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“If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.” Will Rogers (1879-1935)

I couldn’t agree more. Projects need the leader to be intrinsically involved through out. It is not enough for sustained performance to merely brief the team and then ride ahead of the herd.  If you do this, it will not take long before the herd has drifted off, your project is set for failure, and your reputation in ruins. So what to do to ensure projects, and the head stay together?

Taking our six dimensional model this is what you can do to keep the project on track.

1. Knowledge: Ensure you resource base is trapping knowledge and learning as it is occurring in your project. Documents, data, images and timelines should be shared.  I believe the real bonus for projects is micro blogging from the team members. Micro blogging is short updates and sharing of resources, images, and files which support the programme. Facebook has micro blogging as status updates, Twitter  as Tweets, but your project platform is bound to have a way for team members to quickly update the team on their progress.  Make good use of this to ensure your project knowledge is retained and shared to support your team members performance.

2. Skills: Your team will be developing their skills as they work on the project. Everyone will be learning and identifying individual learning needs. Your project platform should have a place to store the esssential “How to”s for the project. These could be anything from how to share a document, to how to update the project schedule. Sharing skill development will enhance the performance of the whole team.  Make sure the how to’s are embedded in your application platform.

Be sure each member of the team is carrying out their role, and if they are having problems provide support early. Each team member must be able to contribute to the best of their ability.

Updating key documents and schedules are important skills for your team, as it communication and identifying and sharing problems and barriers. Be sure you have place for your team to not only do their work, but report on it.

3. Values: The key values underlying the project should be reported on with regularity. This is your responsibility. Each week the project leader should be informing the team of the progress made in the five key areas of the project. This could be achieved with a regular update from your platform application. It will soon be viewed as important and relevant information for the team and read with great interest.

You may like to update the team on what’s new in terms of activity, knowledge, skills, values, people, learning and performance measures. This will keep your update consistent and keep everyone on track. Always include an invitation to ask questions and to seek more information or clarification.

4. Learn: Keep the knowledge base up to date and easy to use. This may mean you need to regularly annotate and index the project resources. The pay off for this activity is “just in time”.  The project team will find them “just” when they need them, and this resource base may well prove to be of value in later projects.

5. People: Encourage the team to share what they are achieving independently and collaboratively. If any of your team are quieter and shyer make sure you check in with them, and add their contribution to the project. Keep the conversations in the project going throughout and always reward and acknowledge achievement, contribution and performance.

6. Integrate: Track the progress of the project on a daily, weekly or monthly basis depending on the timeframe. Be sure you know what is happening in the project at any given time, and be able to report this within the organisation. Again regular reporting will inform key players, and stakeholders, and remove confusion and suspicion. These are good reasons for taking time for good communication in a variety of different ways.

If you are a teacher or a coach you can take exactly the same approach using your application platform to support knowledge, skills and values resources, learning and collaboration of your students and players.

So before you hop back on your horse to ride ahead, take some time to plan using our six dimensional model, and use it to glance back at the herd from time to time.

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One Response to Projects and Will Rogers

  1. Pingback: Leading academic projects – A self-study unit | Dimension 6 New Zealand

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