It’s often safe to say that managing a tech team is somewhat different than managing salespeople or customer service staff. Clear and ongoing communication, however, remains a core principle of successful project completion. The following tactics will help you establish and maintain productive interaction.
Definitions & Deadlines
Whether members of your team pride themselves on promptness or are prone to procrastination, your project will languish in ambiguity and confusion if there’s just one main objective and deadline. Serve your team’s need for clarity by breaking down the project into smaller tasks with shorter deadlines, and make sure everyone knows who’s doing what. The various roles and their responsibilities should be clearly defined, and their important connection to completing the project should be understood.
Consider asking for volunteers for certain parts of the project, instead of just assigning duties – many IT specialists thrive on new opportunities that challenge them and expand their expertise.
Use Tech Tools to Communicate
You could create a flat outline of the project flow on a whiteboard somewhere, but the best way to keep the dialogue flowing is to use technology. There are many project management tools out there for your team, from free and basic cloud solutions to multi-layered and enterprise-level programs. You know best what you’ll need, but it should be something your team can quickly and easily use to share ideas, information, and project documents with an eye on the deadlines you’ve set.
Make a Habit of Meeting
Even if some of your tech team fall into the introvert category, don’t assume they want to stay hunched over their computer for the duration of the project. Bring them up for air and remind them they are a valuable team member by scheduling short, regular meetings with the entire group.
Avoid the negative rap of meetings by staying focused. Refer to your project outline, and utilize the chosen communication tool. Most importantly, really listen to your team when they talk about their progress, frustrations they’re experiencing, and their thoughts in general. Take notes, and be sure to make positive, meaningful comments.
Follow up, but Don’t Micromanage
Great leaders remove roadblocks to keep their group moving forward. Follow up individually with team members. Using your notes, remind them of what they said during meetings. Are there problems unrelated to their assignment that you can handle for them? Do they need more tools or training? Don’t hover, nitpick, or second-guess how they’re doing their work, or you’ll risk compromising any trust they have in you.
Managing people effectively can be challenging, especially when the project is particularly important. With carefully planned communication, regular and relevant interaction, and an atmosphere of trust and support, you can help your IT team not only complete a successful project, but develop a more productive work environment for the future.
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