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Project management, productivity, change management, and more!


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Is negativity affecting your team?

It’s not new that people talk or write about how it’s important to be positive in every aspect of your life. There are also thousands of examples of how/why positivity can a great impact on your life whether it’s in your personal life or at work. However, we often overlook the impact negativity has on us, and everyone around us.

Online project management technology research and review site Software Advice recently let me know that they conducted an online survey of 1,552 adults to reveal whether people observed negative emotions at work, and whether this impacted their personal mood and performance.

Key findings of their report indicated that:  

  • 84% witnessed a co-worker exhibiting negative emotions with varying levels of frequency
  • 73% witnessed a manager exhibiting negative emotions with varying levels of frequency
  • 75% reported both their mood and productivity would be affected by negative emotions in the workplace

You can view the full report here.

As a project manager, why should I care?

There are two sides to why this is important to any project managers:

1. This negative impact means it affects your projects

If team members working on your projects are unmotivated by the negativity, this means that the quality of your project will suffer. It also means you can expect overage and lack of support when the going gets tough. This can have a dramatic effect on a project if it’s not controlled. Software Advice’s report states that productivity can be affected up to 40%; this is a huge impact on your projects.

2. As a leadership role, you can spread this negativity

This is really important because it means you have a lot of impact on your team’s emotions. Make sure you are aware if you are being negative, otherwise you may be causing damage to your team’s productivity without knowing it.

What can we do as project managers?

The most important thing you can do is always have a positive attitude. The positivity will spread and help fight negativity. Furthermore, if you are constantly positive, and you need to have a one-on-one talk with a negative member, it will be easier to convince him.

If a project gets tough (or ridiculous) and you need to vent, either do it far away from your team, or do it with a smile and laugh about it; turn the situation into something you can laugh at as a team. Believe me, it works a lot more than complaining!

If you don’t think you can handle the negativity by yourself, have others jump in (managers, directors, team leads, etc.) and ask them to spread positivity; it will spread a lot easier if many jump-in.

Software Advice mentions a few other tips that are very interesting, namely: Track Your Team’s Emotions, Promote Emotional Intelligence, Be Attentive to Anger, and Have One-on-One Conversations.

In conclusion

Negativity is something we all face one day or another; make sure it doesn’t come from you, and make sure to do your best to eliminate it from your team. You will then notice that your projects tend to execute a lot better.

Spread the positivity, have any tips? 🙂


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4 tips to be diplomatic in tough conversations

Often you will be faced to tell someone something he may not want to hear, whether it’s a bad news, giving an answer to a question that you know will not please, or maybe it’s a last-minute request.

Regardless, there are many different ways to communicate this, some of which are more efficient than others. Here are some tips to help you deliver a message the right way:

1. Watch your facial expression and body language

One thing that can speak louder than words is your body language , so be careful how you look when you have something “tricky” to say or ask.

For example, avoid having a smile when you are announcing a bad news to someone; it may be because you are nervous, but you still need to be careful because it can greatly offend who you are talking to.

There are many things to consider when thinking about body language which will not be covered in this article, but a quick research on the web and you’ll easily find plenty of tips 🙂

2. Do not beat around the bush but balance it

If you have something to say, say it in a reasonnably short amount of time.  If you talk, and talk, and talk, and never get to the point, the person you are talking to may get irritated, more worried, or worst, and will be less likely to be open-minded about what you are going to say.

Do be careful and balance how you handle this; a short introduction or a small “Sorry but…” never hurts, if you cut everything to the bone and drop the bomb, you may also come as too abrupt.

3. Explain why

Receiving a bad news or a last-minute request is never really fun, but not knowing why it has to be that way can be even worst; take the time to explain the context and answer questions, this will help motivate or attenuate any negative feelings.

4. Listen, and care for the response

Most likely the person will want to explain/justify or even ventilate; whatever it is, part of being diplomatic is not only how you share the information but also how you are overall inside the conversation. If you do not care about what the person replies, or if you listen but give no follow-up answer, it will frustrate the other even more.

In conclusion

Diplomacy is very important and will help you in all the communication you are involved in. Take this seriously and the result may surprise you!


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Are you a micromanager?

Micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes or controls the work of subordinates or employees. Micromanagement generally has a negative connotation.
Source: Wikipedia

Micromanagement often brings frustration, discomfort, and overall less efficiency within a team. It is something I strongly advise against doing, and hopefully this article can help you be aware if you have micromanagement tendencies, or even spot some of your colleagues.

Signs of a micromanager

Here below are but a few of the signs that can help you identify micromanagement:

Need to control everything
One of the top signs of micromanagement is the obsessive need to know/control everything. You feel like you need to be omnipresent and whatever details you are missing are considered failure or unacceptable.

This results in asking too many status reports from the team, constantly calling/emailing them for an update, and having no regards to disturbing people to find out whatever you think you need to know.

Behind your shoulder
When expecting a certain delivery and the due date is close, you may notice some people literally standing behind the person working, and simply waiting for that person to finish, even if it was clearly communicated that more than 5-10 minutes are needed.

Not only does this person annoy his colleague and frustrates him, but while he just stands there waiting, he is not doing anything productive and wasting precious time.

Poor delegation
Someone who needs to control everything will have a tendency to keep the work to himself since it’s easier to control and make sure it’s one ‘his way’. However, when he does delegate, he will dictate exactly how to do it, and if the colleague takes any liberty outside the directions, than the micromanager will tell him to adjust the work or take it back and adjust himself.

Why?

Lack of trust
If the micromanager does not trust the people he works with, either because it is justified or because he thinks he is superior to everyone, than the lack of trust it brings will make him act the way he does.

Because of another micromanager
Sometimes, thee micromanager is actually the one pulling the strings behind, and someone else if doing the micromanagement.

The micromanager hides in plain sight while having someone else take the fall. This can be a very uncomfortable position for the person stuck doing the work. I speak from experience here, believe me!

Obsessive need to control
Some people just have his need to control everything, regardless of what’s going on and with whom they are working. If they don’t control everything, they feel they are not doing their job correctly.

Few tips…

There are a few habits that you can develop that can help you with a micromanager:
Reports: Since they need to feel in control all the time, they feel the need to know everything that is going on, therefore, sending regular status reports (more than you normally would) or constantly adding him in ‘cc’ on mails will satisfy that need, and avoid having him over your shoulder to find out what’s happening.

Stick to your commitments: If you stick to your commitments, from delivering work to status reports on time, this will make you reliable to the micromanager, and the added trust this will give him will diminish his need to control you.

Surround yourself with great people: If you feel you are guilty about not trusting the people you work with, and assuming it’s justified, than it’s time you make a change and surround yourself with a team that delivers and you may find your micromanagement days going away.

Talk to him: This depends on the role you have versus the micromanager’s role, but talking one on one may help clarify a lot of things. Communication is the key, right? You may find out why he is acting that way, or you may make him aware of his behavior; you never know until you have a real open conversation.

In conclusion

Micromanagement is a type of management that needs to be avoided, whether you are guilty of it, or a colleague is, do your best to fix it.

Have you ever worked with a micromanager? Share your story!


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How to give bad project briefs

Briefing the team to start a project is an important step contributing to the project’s success. How the brief is handled can be very indicative of how the project will
go.

However, even if it is very important, some remain unaware of the impact it has on the team to have an unacceptable project brief.

Here are below a few examples of bad project briefs. If you are guilty of anything similar to this, please review how you brief your team, I know you can do better than this. 🙂

1. The “Pass-by” brief

Situation:

  • You happen to pass by the person you need to brief on the project;
  • You stop him in the middle of the corridor and start briefing him on the project right here, right now; and
  • You give him a very high detail description like “It’s a mobile app”.

Result:

  • The brief takes 5-10 minutes;
  • No notes were taken;
  • No next actions were listed nor discussed;
  • The proper team members were not included; and
  • The person being briefed doesn’t necessarily have time for this today and now is stuck with a “surprise” new project he was not aware of.

2. The “Catch it” brief

Situation:

  • You go speak to the person and tell him a project is starting for a client and he should take care of it; and
  • You leave saying you don’t have more information for him…

Result:

  • The person is left completely clueless as to what to do; and
  • He knows he can’t ask questions since you have no more information.

3. The “high…very high level” brief

Situation:

  • You need to have an estimate done for a project;
  • You brief the person who will handle the estimate by informing him that you need an estimate for a “A micro-site”;
  • The person asks for more information; and
  • You answer… “Well it’s a micro-site!”

Result:

  • The person has no idea what to estimate and is frustrated by the lack of information.

4. The “New service” brief

  • You need to have an estimate done for a project;
  • You brief the person who will handle the estimate by informing him that you need to estimate a “Parade Float”; and
  • The person replies by saying “We do web here…” (which is true)

Result:

  • The person has no idea what to estimate; and
  • The person feels confusion around the new “service” we suddenly offer.

5. The “Client approval forward” brief

Situation:

  • You work hard to win a new client, not involving the team in any steps;
  • After much effort to win this new client, he decides to go forward with the project and sends his written approval in a mail;
  • You forward the approval mail to the team asking to start the project;
  • That’s it…

Result:

  • The team has no idea what is going on;
  • They are also discouraged by the “project brief” they just received.

6. The “When can it be done” brief

Situation:

  • You are in a meeting with a client who just agreed to have his websites done by your team;
  • Happy, you fetch the person responsible for production to meet the client;
  • Knowing he is completely clueless of the websites, you ask your colleague: “When can his websites be done?” while the client remains there, smiling, eager to know the answer.

Result:

  • Your colleague is put in a bad position where he is surprised, cannot answer, and must stay professional in front of the client; and
  • Gives a bad impression to client to see how his project started.

7. The “Client wants something else” brief

Situation:

  • Client gives you detailed information of what he needs;
  • You feel the client needs something else than what he his requesting; and
  • You brief the team according to what you think the client needs, and you do not share the original information the client provided to you.

Result:

  • The team is never able to satisfy the client, no matter how hard they try;
  • They are confused by the difference between what the client feedback says and what you say; and
  • Not only frustration build up, but so much time (and money) is wasted because of this.

In conclusion

Project briefs are the first impression of a project to your team, make sure it’s done right. Not only that, can you imagine if the clients knew how bad their project was transferred to the team? They would not feel confident the team could handle it, and they would be right.

Have you ever received a bad project brief? Share your story!

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Team player… or not?

TeamWhile you work with different teams during your career, you will notice some people are more concentrated on their own outcome rather than the team’s. It may not be apparent at first, or it might be completely obvious, but here are some ways to spot someone who isn’t much of a team player:

 

1. Finger pointing

This one is easy to notice; a team player will say “we made a mistake”, “we should have done this differently” but someone who looks out for themselves will not want to be part of whatever seems negative and will rather point fingers or look for someone to blame: “he made a mistake”, “I don’t know why we did it that way, I was just following what he told me”, etc.

2. Weird/unclear communication

A team player will always keep in mind his team when communicating, meaning he was asses how he should communicate which type of information, and will carefully select each word to avoid interpretation. In other words, a team player will put himself in the other’s position.

Now, someone focused on themselves will not be able to put themselves in the other’s position, this means they will communicated in any way they feel appropriate for them:

  • Using the wrong tool for the specific type of information (chat, email, PM tool, etc);
  • Communicate out of context: They can’t necessary understand the fact that you are not in their mind, and cannot put themselves in your place, so they will send you half the information, thinking that you will understand because they do;
  • Will throw all information so they can say “I told you….”: Whether it’s while talking, chat, email, you will get splattered with information, and if you miss anything, you are sure to hear to infamous “I told you that….”;
  • Simply not informing the team: If they have the information, then it’s good for them, so you may have to grab the information yourself.

3. “It’s not my job”

Role clarity is very important, and focused on their own roles will of course give a greater outcome to the project. However, it may happen that sometimes people have to go beyond their role for the good of the team. A team player will jump in anytime, he will even offer to do a task that’s not his to do.

Here, it’s relatively easy to spot a non team player, since you will probably hear something like:

  • It’s not my job;
  • I could do it but it shouldn’t be me;
  • I have the information but I shouldn’t be the one communicating this;
  • etc.

4. Can’t admit errors

Teammates will often apologize for mistakes, or at the very least admit they were wrong; but someone looking out for themselves will simply not unfortunately.

Luckily, it doesn’t mean they don’ know they made a mistake, which means they might still learn from it, and avoid repeating it next time. To help out, without being guilty of item #1 above, you can suggest how the team can learn for next time by saying “we” instead of “you/he”.

In conclusion

People who are not team players are concentrated on themselves, therefore it can be tricky to work with them when their role is needed inside the project. It can impact the project in a negative way, but, if the outcome of the project affects how they will look in font of others, it may also have a positive impact on the project since they will make sure to look good.

If you think you are a team player and you are guilty of what’s above, you may want to start being careful, it can drastically change how your team looks at you.

Are you working with people who aren’t team players? Share your stories.


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Project management trend: Collaboration

Trends-2014

Source: Efi

There are several trends in project management that will only get stronger in 2014 (resource management, distributed teams, cloud, agile, etc.), but one that I particularly thrive to bring forward is ‘collaboration‘.

All trends are important, but this one is my personal top priority, as it affects the whole team’s synergy, and a project manager doesn’t get anything done without its team.

More and more tools are available to help teams collaborate by making project information available to everyone, and adding options that simplify communication. For me, this is more than just about the tools, it’s about the team itself and how they work.

Working together rather than in silos

Typically, everyone works in their corners, and when their part is done, they would give it to the next one who would then do their part, and so on. Collaboration is about everyone being “together in this”, and working together while one part is being done. This means that the team is updated with the status as it goes, and are able to participate in each step to share their opinions pro-actively rather than at the last-minute when they receive the done work.

A typical example, is when design is approved, and only than can the tech team flag that half of it cannot be done but by now, it’s too late! Collaboration means involving the others while design is being done so this does not occur. Collaboration tools ease this by helping everyone to communicate and keep track of comments, discussions, and decisions.

This brings teamwork to a whole new level, which is important for the sanity of any project. But all this extra communication needs to be managed by the project manager, who can only go so far with mails, and Word documents scattered on the agency’s network; these tools help the project manager do this, and lets the team communicate amongst themselves rather than putting everything on the PM’s shoulders.

Bigger sense of involvement

As team members are more and more collaborating through every step of a project, it gives everyone a bigger sense of involvement and commitment. This adds motivation to get the work done, and done properly. It also helps everyone feel part of the team, which improves teamwork and moral.

All this reflects positively on the projects.

Live updates

All that communication can add delays to your project, but not anymore; everyone can be updated live on every step. Whether it’s an updated schedule, or a new decision taken concerning the design, no one has to find out ‘by chance’ that they’ll need to deliver something next Monday.

All those updates can also be communicated and tracked easily without having 150 more mails in the inbox.

Sharing of files

Simple yet useful, files are being shared all the time, especially if you want the others to have a look at the work being done. Sometimes, it can hard to find the right files at the right moment, and it gets worst as the project progresses because more files will be available, and more version of each files.

This creates confusion and frustration in a team. Great online collaboration tools will make sure files are categorized, versioned, tagged, and in the end, easy to find. Sharing files and receiving feedback can become easy, and help out the team all the way to the end.

Everyone can pitch in

As everyone is involved more and more, the whole team can pitch in improving how it works. This is where it can get very interesting; everyone can improve their communication, their work, their habits simply by discussing and gathering feedback.

Continuous improvement is always important, and a must in a competitive environment where everything becomes bigger except budgets & schedules.

In conclusion

Collaboration is very important and tools are making it easier and easier. Teams must embrace this and work tighter together more than ever, there is no more excuses!

What is your favorite trend coming up in the future? Share!


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5 tips to handoff your project to someone else

Leaving on vacation and need someone to take care of your project? Want to make sure you come back and it’s not wrecked?

It all begins with how you handoff your project; the more you guide your colleague properly, the higher the chance he has of properly maintaining that project.

1. Quality over quantity

If you swarm your colleague with 50 pages of document about EVERYTHING, chances are he will be lost more than useful, or he will take control of your project very slowly, which will affect your project. Don’t forget, he as to pickup an ongoing project in one day, something which you may have gradually learned/planned in 1-2 months.

Guide your colleague with easy “next-step” lists. If documents must be read, guide him towards specific parts of documents, or even better, create a cheat sheet of those documents. For example: “read page 2 and 6 of document X right away”.

In this context, by quality, I also mean accuracy. Guiding your colleague towards a document that’s not updated will result in your colleague not trusting (so not reading) available documents. Or worst, he will read them, and manage your project with outdated information, which could damage your project. So make sure you update documents, or tell your colleague not to read them, and give him the needed information instead.

Result:

  • Your colleague picks up your project faster;
  • Less “training” time occurs on your project’s budget;
  • Fewer errors;
  • Sentiment of trust/control from your colleague;
  • Overall team stress/moral will be in a better place.

2. Transfer your ‘radar’

In this context, by ‘radar’, I mean, what you know to pay attention to. They may be details, but details that will make a difference in the outcome of your project. For example, it could be a colleague in the team that is always late. It could be a deliverable that has a very important element to verify before sending to client because it was requested as something very important. It could be anything, but it’s probably not written anywhere, or if so, it’s information hard to find.

Even if the information is found or transferred, if it’s not made clear that it must be in your colleague’s radar, then he might not think that it’s as important as it really is.

For example: “Before sending document Y, make sure to verify Jim’s text, he always makes horrible typos and the client hates that regardless of the quality of the document’s content.”.

Result:

  • Everything you thought was important will be checked just as if you were there;
  • Reduces chances of errors.

3. Clarify expectations

During transitions, there is nothing worst then unclear expectations which results in one person thinking the other will do it while the other thinks the same thing. The result is that no work gets done.

During the transition, chances are the team will communicate to both to make sure the message gets across, by mail for example. For each of those messages, it’s important that you tell your colleague if you’re taking care of it or if you’re trusting your colleague to do it. That way, expectations are clear, and if your colleague doesn’t feel comfortable to take care of the request, he can communicate so, and you can help him in doing so.

Expectations towards the team is important too, as I mentioned, they will probably communicate to both, or even only to you, so it’s important that the team knows they need to communicate to your colleague directly.

Result:

  • No request will be left unattended;
  • Information will be sent to your colleague and not to you only;

4. Follow-up

Project management can be hard as it is, and no matter what we think, it’s harder when it’s a project handed off to us rather than one we are in control since the beginning. Therefore, it’s important to do a couple of follow-ups if you know a milestone is coming or something specific must be done.

For example: “We’re suppose to be sending document Z tomorrow, was it verified today? Let me know if you need help”.

Result:

  • That follow-up may grab something that was going to be forgotten;
  • Your colleague will appreciate the backup;
  • This can prevent the feeling of projects being “thrown” to your colleague’s face rather than handed off.

5. Be available

Questions will come, and it’s good that you stay available to answer those questions or even help your colleague in the transition. Depending of circumstances or project, it may be good to be available for 1-2 weeks.

In conclusion

Handing off projects to other project managers is not easy, and our initial reaction is to “get rid of it”. Put yourself in your colleague’s shoes, and do it the way you would want it done to you. Your colleague will appreciate it, and the project will not suffer during the transition.

Let me know if you have more tips in the matter! Or you may want to share stories of how you were handed a project.

Rusted wheel


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4 ways processes can prevent efficiency

Rusted wheel

Source: dhester

When working in teams, especially as the team is bigger, processes are what guides everyone, and helps everyone work together towards the same goal.

But have you ever felt as if the processes in place seem to add complexity rather than help? Here are some ways this might happen:

Who does what

Processes is not only what should be done, but by who, and sometimes, that’s just no clear enough, which creates expectations that are not met, therefore confusion, frustration, and conflicts rises from this.

In a struggle to get this clear, sometimes so much detailed/granular instructions will be given at the same time that people will get lost or confused in it.

Billable VS Non-billable hours

Tracking productivity by calculating & monitoring how any hours each spend on projects VS hours spent on internal tasks is important to make sure people are working on what brings in the money.

Non-billable hours include anything that’s not going to get a bill out of the door, meaning amongst other things: working on tools, template, processes, or any other ‘internal’ work. This is as still very important work since it affects all the work that’s going to be considered ‘billable’.

If no importance is given to those non-billable hours, then everyone will avoid to contribute on any of the above elements, and nothing will get fixed or improved.

Another negative effect this can have is how people enter their time; since non-billable hours have no value, people who need to work on internal stuff will be reluctant to do so, or even worse, they will enter their time in projects so that they seem to work on billable tasks. This adds a whole level of lying and deceiving that you want to avoid.

Tools

Sometimes it will be part of processes to use specific tools, whether it’s because of reporting, or more typically, because ‘people are used to it’. These tools are not always the best, and when forced to use them, will only slow people down, reduce motivation, and even completely prevent some to do their job.

Inappropriate for certain projects

Big chain of processes can be great and even absolutely necessary for big projects, or projects with typical deliverables. However, when you are tackling smaller projects, or retainers, well then processes should be adapted. You don’t want to spend your whole budget on internal processes and have nothing left to do the work!

Pointing


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5 tips to delegate appropriately

Delegating is a skill that can be a very important part of your role, or it can simply be useful when you need help. Regardless, there is different ways to do it, and here are some tips to do it right:

1. Give a heads up

Depending of the environment where you work, people may be busy on a regular basis. They plan their time, and commit to deliveries all the time according to the tasks they have. If you do not give a prior notice, and delegate at the last-minute, they may not be as capable of committing to your request, or they may have to break other commitments.

Let them know before that you will have a request for them, and give them a high level idea of the request or time required so they can add this to their list of tasks.

2. Avoid barking orders

Delegating may very well be expected of you because of your role, or it might be because you need help. No matter the reason, respecting your colleague by asking them nicely is simple, and makes all the difference in the world for your colleague’s moral. A higher moral will raise motivation which also raises chances that your request is done properly in time.

So instead of “Do this!”, how about a “Could you please do this?”. And no reason not to add a smile on top of that 🙂

3. Explain why it should be done

There is nothing that de-motivates more than not knowing why you are doing something. You question the request, you complain about it, you slow down or switch to another task, and it will probably not get done properly.

When you send someone a request, how about a simple explanation of why it needs to be done, and why it’s urgent, or important!

If you send your request saying it may be a good chance to obtain a new contract with a client, they will take it more seriously than just sending them “Do this report”.

4. Give clear expectations

This is important in all the communication you have at work, but when delegating, if you want to raise chances of receiving what you need, then it is important that your expectations are clear. If your colleague is guessing what needs to be done, chances are you will not receive what you needed.

For example, if you ask for a “maintenance report” for the client, well you may receive an Excel spreadsheet with hours per role (designer, developer, etc.). However, it’s not what you wanted to send, you wanted to send a PDF file listing tasks with hours spent for each. Well, simply state it, it doesn’t take much more time to tell, and will prevent wasted time from your colleague, and even yours.

5. Give a due date

Give a measurable due date, is it in 3 hours? Is it for tomorrow end of morning or tomorrow first thing in the morning?

By the way, ASAP is not a due date! Everything should be done ASAP, it’s like saying everything is ‘high priority’ which means that nothing is high priority.

If you don’t give due dates, don’t expect to have it done exactly when you need it. Furthermore, the team will have a hard time prioritizing all their tasks and confusion may rise.

In conclusion

If you delegate properly, you raise the chance of receiving what you need, so there is no excuse not to do it, and people will respect you for doing it properly.

Do you have any more tips to share?


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Back off! 3 things to consider when pressuring team members

Covering eyes

Source: hotblack

In project management, we often (maybe too often) have to work with tight schedules, surprises, scope creep, etc. What happens, especially when less experienced, is that we become stressed, and will transfer this stress to the team members through pressure.

Is that good? Sometimes, it can be, in others, it’s not. There are several things to consider:

1. Dosing is important

Too much pressure is never good, but the right amount can give your team members the boost they need to get the job done. Make sure everyone understands what needs to be delivered and how important it is, but use that opportunity to motivate them that can do it, rather than what’s going to happen if they fail. If you stress them too much, their productivity will diminish, and some may even not be able to work at all.

2. Everyone is different

Some work great under pressure, some not. Get to know your team members and how they react, and dose pressure accordingly:

  • Some love pressure: Those who are great under pressure will be at their greatest with just the right amount of stress. This means that you can emphasize on the delivery being very close, and how important it is to be on time, but you still need to avoid overdoing it.
  • Some hate pressure: Others just don’t react well to pressure. This means that you want to avoid completely adding in kind of pressure whatsoever. However, it is still important to let them know if any deliverables are due, or if anything if late so you want to use a different approach depending of the situation: talking to the whole team at once will reduce adding the pressure on only one or two person and that will make it easier to accept, and also, the tone of voice and your body language will have a great influence on how the members will react, this is important when communicating all the time with everyone, but it is also very important to be careful when you know the pressure will make your team member go berserk!

3. Pressuring & disturbing is different

It’s easy to get caught up in asking colleagues for statuses every half hour because a deliverable is due any second or is even late, and you want them to feel pressure to get the work done ASAP. This only makes matters worse:

  • You slow down work: By asking for statuses, you disturb team members, and prevent them from working on what you want. Even if they are disturbed for 1 minute, consider that they lost 15-30 minutes of momentum & concentration depending of what they are doing. Furthermore, the time they are spending to give you a status is also time they could be spending on finishing the work.
  • You irritate: If your team members are working on a deliverable that is due any second, you can expect that they are also stressed, which means they have less patience. Asking them for statuses will irritate them more easily in these cases, and could create conflicts. Also, he will focus less on his work, and more on how you are irritating him which will reduce his productivity. One thing you always want to avoid is to stand behind them while they are rushing the work, nobody likes that, go sit down, and wait for them to come see you.

In conclusion

Pressure can add focus and speed, but can also reduce it. Be careful of how you add it, and who you are working with, everything has to be considered carefully.

If you have anything to add, don’t hesitate to share!