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13 Oct

Ten things to agree upon

Date: 2010-10-13 10:47 Comments: 0 st

To be effective on your own as if you were isolated in your own bubble is one thing, but what about when we work together with other people, in a project or in any form of team?

As soon as we are more than one person, it is easy ...

  • to do unnecessary things, due to misunderstandings
  • that tasks fall through the net and remain uncompleted because it was unclear that someone had to do something specific
  • that we are waiting for someone to do something, though this person isn’t aware that we’re waiting for them
  • that we spend more energy on something than what is necessary, since we think others expects something from us that they don’t
  • that in a project we do the same thing twice since one person doesn’t know what the other is working on

The bottom line is that valuable time is wasted and it becomes more strenuous to achieve our goals and get to the place we’re aiming at.

Create solid frames to feel free within

Here are ten things you gain time from by having agreed upon with those you work with.?Discuss and determine how you’re going to ...

  1. book meetings. Who is responsible for the bookings? In what medium do you book the meetings (via the scheduling function in the shared agenda, by calling each other, or before you leave the last meeting)? How much time in advance do you need to make arrangements?
  2. have meetings. Do you need a standard agenda? How do you want to act during the meeting? What material should be prepared and how long in advance?
  3. document what has been said & agreed upon in a meeting. Who takes notes? How detailed do they need to be? Where do you store the well defined next steps you agree upon? How do you illustrate the decisions made and how do you proceed with them?
  4. inform each other when you don’t expect any activity. How do you, for example in the subject line of an e-mail, communicate that “this is purely and simply information, you don’t need to respond or react, but you need to know what this is about”? The more clearly you express yourself, the faster the message will be handled by the receiver.
  5. do when you get stuck with a task you’re responsible for. Find an easy and quick way to brainstorm about the problem with your colleagues so that you’re able to get help quickly and move on faster. A forum for discussions? The next coffee break? A five-minute meeting right where you’re standing?
  6. delegate a task to someone else. How are you going to define the task so that it’s easy for the recipient to understand what to do? How do you make it clear to the person the task is delegated to, what and when you expect her to deliver?
  7. report back on a task that has been delegated to you. It’s one thing to do what has been agreed upon, and another to clearly communicate that “now it’s done”. The person that has delegated the task to you may have tasks which in turn are dependent on that you’ve done your part.
  8. store documents related to a specific project. What kind of folder structure should be in the project folder on the shared server, so all the colleagues can find and browse through your project material on a day when you’re away from the office?
  9. do when you notice that an e-mail dialogue is dragging on and on, that is, when the subject line starts with “RE: RE: RE: RE: FWD: ...”. Who says “Stop, now it’s time for a meeting!” and when? Many discussions are dealt with quicker face to face than via e-mail.
  10. keep each other updated on where you are at in the project you are working on together, so that every one can make an estimation of how much time they will have to devote. How do you prevent to reinvent the wheel in two places simultaneously, that is, doing things twice? Is the classic GANTT-chart adequate or do you need other sketches illustrating more aspects of the project as well? Perhaps you should do a visual illustration of the project flow where you can see how your project group interacts with other people involved? How often do you need to update each other?

If you decide upon a handful of set frames everything will flow easier, and each and everyone can focus on the tasks that really need some extra effort.

How have you done it?

In your team, what have you agreed upon in order to facilitate and ease the daily work?

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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