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 How to Help Your Team Define the Scope of A Company Project | PM Tools - PM Tools

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How to Help Your Team Define the Scope of A Company Project

If you have been given the responsibility for leading a corporate project team, never forget that you set the tone. It may be true that the quality of your leadership will largely determine the outcome, be open with your team and help them understand that success depends on every member contributing his or her best efforts. Encourage everyone, including yourself, to bring their “A-game” to every meeting and team task.

Use your initial meetings to give your team the opportunity to introduce themselves to one another and talk a bit about why they are in the group and their expectations for the project. This is when you can discuss the project and deliverables in broad terms, go over the meeting schedule, deal with any early-stage team or project issues, and ask or answer questions. Be open and don’t be afraid to smile or laugh, when appropriate, and encourage ease and informality within the group.

Allow time to introduce yourself. Explain your role. My style is open and participative. I like to show that I am approachable, enthusiastic and relaxed, genuinely interested in each team member’s views. You want to show that you are the team’s leader, not an authority figure. It helps everyone to relax. At this point, I set some team-friendly ground rules:

Discuss all project or team matters in the spirit of good will;

Leave enough time at each meeting for questions — emphasize that there is no such thing as a “stupid” question;

Keep it polite, or at least civil; have respect for each team member’s views, and;

Give each team member every opportunity to speak without interruption.

You may want to adapt these guidelines to your particular team’s needs or make your own list. They will not prevent the differences of opinion and quirky personality traits that often appear in group settings. However, if you are respectful and polite towards your team members, they are more likely to accord you and one another the same courtesies.

This is also the time to make any special assignments. Most teams need a note-taker to prepare meeting minutes and agendas, and a researcher to gather any additional information that team members need.  If it is a technology project, you’ll need IT people to suggest pilot systems and advise the team on technology-related matters; remind the techies to discuss their ideas in as simple language as possible. Everyone needs to keep up. If the project requires package design or development of printed materials, include a graphic designer on your team.

Throughout the project, you and your team will need to review its progress. The critical question at each review stage is: Is the team’s work consistent with the project’s deliverables? The project’s design phase is when you develop the project’s purpose and scope. Remember to keep the project vision document available throughout the process. Make sure that it remains the authoritative source for evaluating the adequacy of the team’s work and the final product

Michael Bauch is a New York City-based freelance financial writer. He writes extensively about investments, legal issues and business matters.
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