I’ve been to many of these. I like walking into them feeling a little autonomous knowing that I have my needs covered. Why? Because usually, it’s the exact opposite of working “on” the project. I’ve seen PRINCE2 training Project Manager in team sessions take it over like a cake. They spend a lot of time talking about things other than work. They do it because it’s easiest. They get to talk to themselves and others about what they’re doing during the course of the day. Production and service teams are often the most affected by the work-for-product plan as are marketing teams. Production teams sit around waiting for the next piece to run, product teams struggle with their waiting lists and service teams deal with their order backlog’s. Stale conversations, working at an insburnium, “we’ll do it next week”, “it’ll only take one more push to get it done” and similar patterns are everywhere. Do that for hours, you’ll go broke. Project managers often create this scenario and not realize they’re doing it. One of the best management techniques I’ve found is the personal log. It’s easy to maintain it. It’s not only a great way to organize work days, days not staffed and days not doing everything, it’s something you can use to improve your own personal productivity.
“Management meetings” and “handouts” are another huge waste of time. Heard of them? Well, you are now. Managers tend to call one another meetings, meetings, meetings, and meetings and meetings. That’s why management meetings are waste of time. They do nothing more than communicate. But that doesn’t mean I don’t use them. I do. I let managers know on my calendar 5 minutes before an important meeting. I schedule a few of the topics including what I want to cover the most and it will probably be more difficult to make them the most effective use of my time as there’s always at least one meeting that is obvious to me to skip or skip if it’s not my top priority. Many of you have traveled the same way. Even with a trip, now that I’m thinking about it, I recognized the holidays as the peak time for meetings. All eight of them usually run on any given day of December 31 or 31st. This is the beginning of the month. Get a few of them in your calendar to be able to manage your interactions in a number of areas including but not limited to meetings, admin and food, breakfasts, teleconf, and others.
“Team building” one of the definitions of project management, has got to be the worst thing this could be. Haven’t I dealt with the Determine Team Needs process? One step to ensure that a team meets its project requirements is team building. Anyone who has identified a team or a project and then started to build its project team knows that goes for meetings, forums, group meetings, and team building. The last step is a waste of precious time. Don’t have a meeting with, for example, a team of team members to choose the administrator of a team meeting. The opportunity cost is proximity. Pop notice those around you. Remember that it’s more effective to have a scattered team. Many of you are to spread out. On any given day, team members are distributed. Software companies and IT support companies spend a lot in support of their agreement with their vendors. The numbers reflect the effort as well. On a day that you say to a vendor team, ” Measure all the days that your staff is spread out and that those numbers are correct. Those are on different sites and represent days that the service or relationship is critical while your field folks are focused on adding to their chances for one more contract.” I calculate that at least 2.6% of the team from one to five is at least working anywhere other than in team meetings for the purpose of communicating to the customer. Hopefully, in a majority of cases, there is no natural overlap in where the team is engaged outside of meeting for the success of projects. So, what’s happened is that you’ve got unhappy, too spread-out teams that want to meet because everybody else wants to.
We call these encounters Customers. A customer is a group of people that the organization needs to meet with (perhaps the acquisition department) in order to take care of functionality and the organization does not have the time to schedule to follow-up. In this situation, meeting with a team of team members outside the normal team meeting of which you are part is essential to maintain your competitive advantage.