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5 Ways Of Getting There With Your Team

070516-N-1745W-001Last week I talked about the importance of getting to know your customers and collecting their feedback. This week, I want to bring the focus a little closer to home, to the employees. No matter how you slice it, your employees are the key in making everything happen. Without them there would simply be no company. However, we often forget that and observe a diminishing engagement and lack of morale. So what should you do to make sure your team stays as enthusiastic about the future as they were on day one? I am sure these tips will help put you on the right track.

  • Define the rules of the game

Before even talking about empowering and engaging employees, you should make sure that there are clear rules to define the processes. Not only that, but that you also take some time and talk these rules out with your team. Have an open discussion about the management practices and you will be surprised about the valuable feedback and insights that will be offered. This way, you will not only make sure they know the rules, but also have the team be part of their creation.
Genuine interest and open doors will put you ahead of the game.

  • Treat your team like adults

One of the biggest issues when keeping employees engaged and happy is micromanagement. It is understandable that you want to make sure everything goes smoothly and according to plan, but at some point it is imperative you let go. Your employees are professionals that you have hand-picked to represent you so make sure to treat them accordingly. Empower the team to make their own decisions, let go of the reigns and observe. Let them prove to you that they can perform and only intervene when it is absolutely necessary. You will have a more engaged and self-sufficient team than you would ever have micromanaging their every move.

Act the way you would like to be treated when asked to do a job – trust is your best friend.

  • Ask to explain the issues

Another big boost to morale and productivity is the ability to talk out the issues. Schedule a monthly meeting with each team where the sole purpose is to talk about the issues they are facing and to look for their solutions. Make sure this meeting is about the team dynamics and the processes and not about the current project or deadline. This way you will create a platform for the team to share their concerns in a safe space, a place to look for solutions and a feeling that everyone is heard and valued. It will be difficult to get the ball rolling the first few times, but asking the right questions and taking up a role of a colleague instead of a leader, will go a long way.

Treat these meetings as a safe space, so that everyone can voice their opinions.

  • Give credit when credit’s due

Besides making sure the team is heard and treated correctly, you should always make an effort to give credit to those that deserve it. Too often we forget to thank or praise the team members that are crucial to the operation. And while you might think they will still know they are valued, their feeling might be different. Celebrate wins often and publicly, thus shoving the rest of the team what to strive for and how their efforts will be rewarded in the future.

Celebrate your company and your people with pride.

  • Measure the satisfaction

Few business decisions are made without insight and data, so employee engagement should not be any different. Do not limit yourself to team meetings – set up a system to measure satisfaction on a daily basis. The way you approach this will be crucial and could determine if the employees see it as a positive thing that it is. Make the survey anonymous, and rotate employees so that they don’t get fed up. The results will provide you with valuable insight and help you better prepare on introducing big news to the team in the future.

Measure satisfaction to know when your team needs a pick me up.

How do you keep the team motivated and engaged? Share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments!

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The Many Hats of a Project Manager: Daily Struggles and Solutions


It is no secret, that project management is more than just following deadlines and overseeing work. No matter the size of the company, managers have to take on various roles to make sure their team reaches the desired result. This role juggling may be well known to the experienced project managers, but for those still ranking up their expertise, multiple hurdles await.

Check out our list of the most common project management daily struggles and their solutions.

  • The lack of motivation within the team

When managing a group of people all in pursuit of the same results, you will inevitably find yourself dealing with team members that seem to have lost their drive. It will put your project behind and influence the rest of the team in a negative way. When faced with such a situation, it is important to remember that it is your job, not to only create the plans for the future, but to also make sure the team is motivated to complete them.

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Form The Right Agile Team


As any project manager would tell you, having a great team is one of the key factors in project success. They will help you face the challenges, look for solutions and deliver a result that you are looking for. Agile teams are no exception and can either help you to achieve goals or be a destructive force for the whole project. So how do you form an Agile team that will bring the success you are looking for?

The most important thing you have to understand is that the traditional teams and Agile teams are two quite different things. Simply slapping new titles on the old team does not an Agile team make. The key difference between a traditional and an Agile team is that the latter has to be completely self-sufficient. In other words, it has to be diverse and independent enough to produce a working, tested increment of a product. To make sure your new Agile team can do that, there are a few things you should be aware of.

1. Diversity

While for the traditional teams it might be perfectly fine to have five designers and no developers, this will be nowhere near okay for Agile. By definition itself, Agile teams have to be diverse enough to produce a working part of the product. This means that an Agile team has to be made of just the people that are needed to do that.

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3 Ways Agile Will Reward Your Team

Teamwork and team spirit

While switching to Agile practices is nothing uncommon these days, we are still often reluctant to accept it when it comes into our lives. This has little to do with the methodology itself and simply rests on the fact that most of us do not like change, any change. The question here is – should you focus on the fact of facing change or should you instead focus on what great rewards you will get after? We pick the latter and here are our top 3 things to look forward to after an Agile switch.

  • Meaningful documents and meetings

Having to deal with excessive documentation and unproductive meetings is so common in today’s business world that it has become something we actually expect. However, despite this acceptance, it does not bring any substantial value to the team nor to the product and often creates demotivation instead of what we all seek – productivity.

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Leadership – a thin line between a friend and an enemy

leader silouet

No matter how many books and theories about project management are out there, to most of us being a great leader is still a mystery. You need to be tough, yet sensitive, strict, yet forgiving, everything, yet nothing at the same time. Being a great leader is truly an art and requires years to be developed. However if you are just starting out or simply want to refresh your memory, here are a few things you should always remember.

What Not To Do

As with anything in life, it is important to know not only what you should do, but also and often more importantly what not to do. This will help you avoid common mistakes made out of lack of experience or simply no better knowledge.

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Amazon: The Story Of Productivity Taken Too Far

Source: CNN

When reading the expose on Amazon workforce in New York Times, I could not but notice the similarities between the work philosophy that Jeff Bezos has installed upon Amazon and the one of Agile. Both have a set of principles, both strive to accumulate productivity and eliminate waste, yet it was difficult to believe, Agile based companies could turn out the same. Is it possible for an Agile workplace to become a news headliner where the reach for productivity is taken so far?

The answer, like anything in life, is yet to be determined, but the parallels between the two philosophies cannot really be ignored. Just like Agile, the company strives to be more nimble and more productive, at the same time eliminating waste anywhere they can. In fact, this philosophy was the very key to Jeff Bezos’ belief system, driving him in the creation of the most valuable retailer within the US that Amazon is today.

“According to early executives and employees, Mr. Bezos was determined almost from the moment he founded Amazon in 1994 to resist the forces he thought sapped businesses over time — bureaucracy, profligate spending, lack of rigor. “

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The perfect project management tool?

toolsProject management tools today are plentiful -no matter the specifications and the requirements a team has, there is a lot to choose from. Hence, the problem in getting a perfect tool is not in the supply, but more so in choosing the right one and often not getting overwhelmed by the process itself.

When it comes to defining what project management tool is right for your team, we realize, that each team’s requirements are different – some want it to be blue and some want it green. And even if you know that only blue will do, you will still have a lot of decisions to make before choosing the one. To help you in this process, we decided give you a few simple rules to follow when choosing your next tool.

Adaptability. No matter, how perfect a tool may seem in fitting all of your requirements, one thing is a must – the tool needs to be adaptable to your process. When getting a new tool you will want it to fit your business like a glove. Keep in mind, that sooner or later your process will change (whether by your own will or because of outside influences) and if the tool is not capable of changing as well, you will be stuck.

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The 5 pitfalls of project management

Pitfall22Project management is a phrase that rarely goes without a reaction. The methodologists are usually happy to bring their theories to light, however, most of us do not feel the same. The reasons why people feel some sort of negativity towards the concept are various and often from their personal experience – bad project manager, seemingly endless process, no defined goals, etc. However, the root cause of any problem seems to always linger around the same pitfalls.

1.       Defining the goals

First and foremost when working on a project, we want to know what we are trying to achieve. Clearly knowing our end goal, makes us feel like a part of it and motivates us to do everything in our power to get there. However, what happens with most teams is that the goals are not communicated and instead the day-to-day tasks are focused on. While it is important to know the short term tasks, it is even more important to communicate the end goal to the team. Only that will keep them focused, motivated and steer them into the right direction for the project.

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Why reports should be part of your daily routine

Stack-of-reports-007When talking about reports, the image that comes to most of our heads is hundreds and hundreds of pages filled with words, numbers and charts. In fact, most of us do not like to either prepare or to read reports unless they contain the exact information we are looking for. However, this image of reporting is a little outdated as with the new technology available, they have changed and are able to bring a lot more to the table.

Since the computerization of the office, the changes in reports can be summarized in three words – automatic, on time and insightful. Nowadays, the reports are mostly automatic as various project management software does exist for the sole purpose of generating them for the team. Because of that, reports are also usually live, meaning that the needed report can be accessed at any time and it will provide up to date information. The insight that reports can create for the team is also greater, as a computer can quickly analyze and cross-analyze the important data to provide information that may not be visible at first.

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Why do most time tracking attempts fail within the first few months?

stopwatchTime tracking is a valuable concept for many projects. It allows managers and team members to organize their work more efficiently, plan ahead, complete projects on time and within budget. However, in reality most of the time tracking attempts fail within the first few months of being implemented and while the teams and projects where time tracking is implemented are quite different, the reasons why time tracking does not work are more or less the same.

Time tracking has evolved a great deal from the initial time sheets that were used to calculate the payroll of the employees. While it is still being used in that manner, a lot of additional uses such as project time estimation, project cost and employee productivity have been found. However, despite all the benefits that time tracking may bring to the team, there are still problems that managers are facing when trying to implement it and the first one they usually come upon is the human factor.

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