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CHAPTER 12 Managing Your Team
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Decision-making
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It is important to separate decision-making from brainstorming. Decisionmaking begins with just a few options, and ends with the selection of a single course of action. This might be a go/no-go decision, such as whether to launch a project after the concept stage is complete, or whether to implement a particular product feature that is costing more than expected. The other type of decision is an option decision. With an option decision, we know we will go ahead, but the question is how to do it. Which vendor will we use Which software programming language will we use Will we do the work ourselves, or hire a consultant
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Ground rules created by the team
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Teamwork and meetings operate best when people know the ground rules. And people understand and keep to ground rules if they own them. Here is an exercise for your team that will help them create ground rules for meetings, or for working together as a team.
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EXERCISE
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A Brainstorming Meeting About How to Have Meetings
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Explain to the team that the purpose of this meeting is to come to agreement about how the team will work together and support one another, particularly around meetings. The results will be a written document, often called a code of conduct or ground rules. Ask the team to take a moment and remember a time when they were treated well, or when they felt that they were respected, or appreciated, or what mattered to them was addressed at a meeting. Then go around the room and have the person say what it was that mattered. You will hear things like, I was respected, or everyone arrived on time. Write these down on a list. You can go around a second time, or just ask people if they have more ideas. Then ask people to remember a time when they treated someone else in a way that seemed good. Add those items. And do it twice more, this time with experiences where people did not like the way they were treated, or did not like the results of what they did. Organize the items. For example, some might be about time, and others about respect, and so forth. Phrase as many as you can in the positive. Add the magic words, We will to the beginning of each phrase. We will respect one another. We will arrive on time. We will listen without interrupting. Read the entire list, and see how everyone feels.
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PART THREE Skills and Tools
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Allow further discussion, and then delegate the task of writing up the ground rules, giving out copies, and posting them in the meeting room.
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We can do the same with ground rules for project work, as well as for meetings. Once the team has created this agreement, we each do our best to keep the rules, and to support one another in a no-blame, friendly way to keep them. It can help to agree on a friendly, humorous, perhaps non-verbal signal to act as a reminder. Some groups just allow anyone to say, Ground rules, as a reminder. Others use a bell, or a particular hand sign, or a humorous picture that people hold up as a reminder.
A MANAGER S COVENANT
Our goal as project managers is to support our team. Rather than seeing us as above them, we want to see ourselves beneath our team, assisting them, helping them to get the job done. Yet our society and our authority to evaluate their work, and change the direction of their future career puts us on top. One way to handle this is to develop a manager s covenant. A covenant is an agreement from someone in a higher position to someone in a lower position. But it begins with what I will give, from a higher position. Only after I give am I entitled to say what I want to receive. So, a covenant begins with generosity and support. As managers, we should each think deeply about our covenant. What do we most want from those in authority What has been most di cult for us We can allow our experience to guide our actions. We should not adopt someone else s covenant. But we can think about a covenant we see, and decide if we want to make parts of it our own. In that spirit, here is a covenant from an excellent project manager. Years ago, I worked for Henry, and started with what he o ered, and made just a few changes.      I surround myself with people I respect and trust. Then act so that they will respect and trust me. I provide my team with the tools they need to be productive: hardware and software, policies and procedures, and a healthy work environment. I provide challenges, clearly de ned work, and a clearly de ned growth path. I listen closely and respond quickly.
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