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“I have a team of 8 members that work on software implementation projects. I seem to have difficulty getting them to complete projects on time due to either staffing shortages or skill shortages. Do you have any suggestions for helping optimize my team?"
Here are 6 factors that will certainly increase your team’s effectiveness.
Accurate Estimating; one of the most common factors attributing to late projects is inaccurate estimating the amount and type of resource needed to complete the task. Using history as a guide, review your estimating abilities and if needed, spend time with you team to train them on how to increase your level of estimating accuracy.
Prioritizing Activities; insure that your team is working on the most important activities in the right sequence. People often gravitate toward doing the easiest task first and spend too much of their resource completing them, leaving inadequate time for the more important activities. This action also does not allow for completing prerequisite tasks required to accommodate follow-on activities which are dependent on that prerequisite task being complete.
Productivity Reviews; make sure each individual is putting forth the effort and gaining the results you anticipate from them throughout the project. Where are they spending their time and what results are they getting. Guide them, show them, help them and encourage them to meet your and your team’s expectation for their productivity level. “Don’t confuse efforts with results TM”.
Skill Inventory; assess the skill level of each of your team members; know their strengths and weaknesses so that you can match them to the activities required to meet the project deliverables. Use performance reviews, one-on-one sessions, and project review gatherings to assess and help improve your member’s skill levels. Matching skills with activities requires you to understand the requirements of the project in detail so that you can make the most productive assignments of your team members to the required activities.
Cross Training; whenever and wherever you have the opportunity, cross train your team members with other members. The more versatile each team member is in their skills, the greater latitude you have to level out your staffing requirements to meet a project’s requirement.
Mentoring; set up a mentoring program where you, a senior member of your team or an outside resource works with you team members individually to help increase their capabilities, skills and productivity. Mentoring is the most effective form of training there is and will produce excellent results for you in the future.
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