How To Get Projects Completed Successfully (In A Team Environment)

I have heard this organizational story many times.  Sadly it’s been true too many times with some of the organizations where I have worked (or led).  Often leaders give up trying to make the team concept work and take on the projects themselves, because of this scenario:

This is a story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.   Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.   It ended that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

(From a poem by Charles Osgood)

Has that ever been the case in your organization?  Do you have a great team that can brainstorm ideas that sound great when you talk about them, but no progress is ever made completing them?  How can we be sure that projects get completed working in a team environment?  As our staff size has increased and with our team concept, I observed some things that are necessary in order to make a project successful.  Once the team reaches consensus on the project:

Define clearly what the project is and what will make it successful.This is a huge principle I am still learning, but a win is not defined equally.  Make sure people understand what is expected of them.


Make sure everyone understands who is responsible for each task.
You can have the best people in the world, but the project will fall through the cracks if no one takes responsibility.

Provide accountability and feedback and monitor progress.
It is important, for some people more than others, that you ask questions along the way to make sure progress is being made. Some people will get stuck and not ask for help and the project stalls.   Check in with the team or individual periodically.

Evaluate during and after the project and reassign responsibilities as necessary.
Sometimes a specific task is bigger than expected. Sometimes the assignment was not a good fit.  Sometimes people drop the ball.  If completing the project is important, don’t be afraid to shake up the team.

Learn from each project.
The more projects your team does together, the better they will get at completing them if you keep learning and implementing the needed changes for the next project.

What tips do you have to make sure a project is completed successfully?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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