I don’t know about you, but I think one of the worst jobs of a project manager is the performance review. We should all agree, though, that managing team performance is critical to success and keeping projects on track. When I walk through the doors of corporate America I am always shocked to learn a.) what they call the team, and b.) what the team evaluation process is. Even in my training as a manager, I didn’t agree (horrified, actually) with the evaluation process and how I was expected to evaluate my team. As an alternative, I began to incorporate tips from my background in sports, and they have served me well. If you played sports or have children who do, or have musical or artistic training, you too can draw similar insights and incorporate them into your idea of managing team performance. But these are seven of my tips that I use to set everyone up for success.
#1 – Set Targets
First, set targets. It’s easier for the team to know what they are shooting for if you set targets, as well as for the individual.
#2 – Schedule and Conduct Regular Reviews
Second, schedule and conduct reviews regularly. Let everyone know ahead of time when their reviews are going to happen, and that they will happen on a regular basis, not just at the end of a project. We’ve all waited to be evaluated at the end of a project or period of time, only to learn that we missed the target or maybe didn’t even didn’t know what the target was.
#3 – Provide Feedback
Third, provide feedback. It’s uncomfortable for most of us to provide feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. Some people are uncomfortable saying, “Hey you did a great job,” or “Wow, you are really improving.” But we all hate to give the bad feedback, “I noticed you are really struggling,” or “you didn’t do so well with that.” Even though it’s a little difficult, it’s a two-way street. The project manager also needs feedback from team members. Ask two important questions: “How can I support you?” and “what do you need to succeed?” If we parallel this to sports or any discipline in the arts, when you are part of a team working together you want to know how to support people and how to make sure that they are succeeding.
#4- Track Performance Metrics
Fourth, track performance metrics. Have specific metrics in place that measure whether or not team performance is actually improving and to see what you want to improve. A lot of times organizations or projects have extraneous metrics or no metrics at all, and so no one really knows what they are striving for. Or perhaps the metrics are arbitrary, just so organizations can say they have them, but they are really not measuring the behaviors they want to improve. Do you want to improve someone’s performance or knowledge on a certain topic? Do you want to decrease defects? Do you want to increase performance? Know what you are trying to improve.
Tomorrow we’ll discuss three more areas where you can make the most of this less than desirable experience!
If you found these tips from Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt) of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.
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