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Living in the Past: How to Drive Your Project Team Forward

Overview

Do you feel like you and your project team have a good grasp of what’s coming towards you? Or are you the beneficiary of “surprises” and last minute problems that put your project in peril?

We find that the biggest problem that project teams face is that they are simply unable to clearly see where they are in the project and what they need to do to move ahead. Sometimes, running a project feels like running full speed into a dark room!

Watch the video below to learn how to drive your project team forward.

Are you living in the past? Hi, I’m Mark Woeppel, president of Pinnacle Strategies. I’m going to tell you how can drive your project team FORWARD.

Do you feel like you and your project team has a good grasp of what’s coming towards you? Or are you the beneficiary of “surprises” and last minute problems that put your project in peril?

We find that the biggest problem that project teams face is that they are simply unable to clearly see where they are in the project and what they need to do to move ahead. Sometimes, running a project feels like running full speed into a dark room! Sometimes, the room is empty. Most times, well, you know what happens.

We’re all aware of this “blindness”, so we have meetings. Lots of them.

But what happens in these meetings? It doesn’t seem like there are many flashlights to show the way forward, but there are plenty of reports about the journey towards the room.

These meetings are boring and unproductive for everyone involved. And the meetings last waaaay too long, leading to more project meeting dread.

Mostly, we see other things happening in project meetings: status updates, defending turf, defending original commitments, giving reasons why things haven’t worked out – a laundry list of missed expectations. Projects executed looking through the rear-view mirror.

With this kind of process, the project team never gets a clear view of what’s ahead and what action to take.

So what do we need to do to live in the future? The goal is to improve team work collaboration, problem solving and future action.

First, make the project visible. I like visual boards like this one. It’s a display of the major steps of the process, and then all the work within it. Work packages are represented by cards on the board, and the cards physically move through the process steps to show where the work is in the process. The key benefit of visual project management is that managers and their teams have a single view of where they are and where they need to go. A flashlight!

Next, you can stop living in the past by getting teams to focus on the future. Talk about the progress, not the status. If a card is not moving, talk about why and what needs to be done to get the card moving again. If a card is stalled, assign someone to break the obstacle. You’ll see where the progress is stopped and how to get it moving again.

Now look at the clusters of cards. Where are bunching up? Are there parts of the process where no cards are? Both of those are symptoms of bottlenecks.

Bottlenecks slow down the flow, and the board shows the team where to focus to increase velocity.
Do you want to stop managing your projects through a rear view mirror? Start focusing on the future by improving your team collaboration, problem solving and future actions.

These are just two examples of how you can make your projects visible and get your team focused on the future. For more, you can learn more about how to improve project execution by reading some of our eBooks or watching more of our videos. The Visualizing Projects eBook introduces visual project management, which reduces the number of meetings and improves the productivity of your entire team.

Improving projects is our business, so if you are looking to transform your project execution, let’s talk.

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