How do we get projects completed successfully in a team environment?
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)
Do you have a great team that can brainstorm great ideas, but no progress is made completing them? So, how can we be sure that projects get completed working in a team environment?
When our church plant’s staff size increased, and with our dedication to a team concept, I observed some things that were necessary in order to make a project successful.
Once a team reaches consensus on a project:
Define clearly what the project is and what will make it successful.
A win is not always defined equally. Make sure people understand why we are doing this together – why it is a win for everyone – and what, in the mind of the leader, will define a win.
Be sure everyone understands who is responsible for each task.
Even with the best people the project will fall through the cracks if no one takes responsibility. Therefore, people need to know what their individual role is in creating a win. Plus, that every role matters.
Provide accountability and feedback as you monitor progress.
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.
Therefore, check in with the team or individual periodically. This is where trust comes in handy, but team members need to know it’s okay to raise their hand with questions and problems they encounter.
Evaluate during and after the project and reassign responsibilities as necessary.
Sometimes a specific task is bigger than expected. Perhaps an individual assignment was not a good fit. Sometimes people simply drop the ball. So, don’t be afraid to shake up the team as needed.
Learn from each project.
The more projects a team does together, the better it becomes at completing them. Keep learning and implementing the needed changes for the next project.