Culture of Success & Team Dynamics: The Kick-off & Defining Your “Rules” (Post #7)

You’ve painstakingly identified project roles, tools, filled in the gaps, assigned the team, and now it’s GO time!  Before any work starts, there are two things that must happen first; the team kick-off and defining my rules as the PM.

The Team Kick-off.  A well planned kick-off meeting sets the tone for a successful project.  This is your one chance to energize the team and make a good impression on them.  As a project manager, it’s also an opportunity to show your competence as a leader and able to guide them through the project.

  • Clearly articulate the goals of the project, what done looks like, and the project’s alignment to overall corporate strategy
  • Define what’s in scope and just as importantly, what’s out
  • If possible, have the project sponsor and/or key stakeholder attend to reinforce the project’s criticality
  • Define roles & responsibilities of the project team
  • Go over the team’s communication plan, including recurring cadence & medium (especially for those remote teams), who facilities & who takes notes, and document repository
  • Talk about the project management process and ask for feedback
  • If known; key milestone dates
  • Define your “Rules”

Your Rules.  I got this idea from a mentor a number of years ago.  As a PM, you will have information and issues thrown at you from all directions and it can be difficult to keep it all under control.  To that end, establish your “Rules” and ask your team members to follow them as best they can.  These are setup so your team can work well with you and keeps things flow.  Below are my rules; feel free to create your own:

  1. I don’t like long emails and rarely read them.  Keep emails short with bullet points and expected results.
  2. “Rule of 3”: After 3 group emails pick up the phone.  Email 4 should be a summary of what was discussed and agreed to.
  3. If you think it’s an issue, bring it to my attention ASAP.  Don’t let me be surprised later.
  4. If there is an issue bring me possible solutions, your recommendation and why.
  5. If you allow work outside of the change control process or make promises to stakeholders, I reserve the right to lose my cool.
  6. I make your issue my priority.

The final installment of Team Dynamics will cover ongoing interaction with team members, conflict, and celebrating!

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