Most of us are familiar with the idea of step-by-step progress. We have all read reports, articles or other forms of documentation that have detailed information about a task, listing every step along the way. The same thing can be applied to achieving team success, as well. Team success is about more than just the end result: it is also about the entire process that got them there.
How can you apply this concept to your own projects? When working on any project, you need to keep track of every step so that you will know what needs to be done next. However, how will you be able to accomplish this if you are juggling multiple projects at once? The solution is to create and follow a step-by-step progress reporting system.
What are step-by-step progress tracking systems? These are systems which provide all team members with a very detailed log of each activity. This includes both the actions required by the team member and the results (such as completion). A good system should not just record completed tasks, but also provide progress reports for the entire team. If a team member does not get a desired result, he/she should be provided with reasons why this was the case.
For example, let’s say one of your team members has proposed the idea of doing a survey over the internet. The internet surveys have been seen as being quite effective in the past (and still can be). This is great news for your team! However, how will you be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your team members’ ideas in terms of its feasibility?
You can’t simply ask each team member to complete a survey. This would be like someone from the outside looking in and expecting the employees to deliver a very candid feedback about the company. This is why a step-by-step approach makes far more sense than simply asking for feedback. It gives each team member a documented account of his/her work (or lack of work) on every step of the project, which will then be useful to the team leader when evaluating the team’s performance. Additionally, the report can be used for review after the project is completed.
Another important step is to assign people (or teams) to handle individual aspects of the project. For example, some projects will have a daily task, which will be completed by one or two people. Others will have multiple teams handling different sections of the project. Either way, the team leader must be sure that everyone understands their part of the progress and how they are expected to contribute.
How will the team be measured? This can be one of the most difficult things to plan for. Usually the goal is to get an idea of the number of steps that each member has completed and the number of steps that each team member is expected to complete in order to meet the goals of the project. It can be hard to know what those numbers will be, but there are some easy ways to get a rough estimate.
To get the most out of step-by-step planning, take the time to plan with all team members in place. Then watch for any deviation from the plan. If a team member is not meeting the goals outlined, talk to that person directly about his/her plans or request him/her to rework the assignment so that he/she meets the goals.
What if something happens during the project that delays things? This is the time to step-by-step communicate with each team member about the situation. This is a great time to reassess the overall plan. Is there anything that was missed? Can the team rework the task so that it hits all the goals? Often there is a lot of information that can be shared between the team to make sure that the entire process goes smoothly.
Are there unexpected hurdles along the way? This could pose one of the biggest obstacles for a team to get a smooth, effective step-by-step progress plan in place. There are two reactions that people have when encountering problems. Some individuals look at the obstacles as a stumbling block; they see that it is impossible to complete the work in the desired amount of time. Others look at obstacles as a sign that the team needs to re-think their approach or rework the materials. It is important to consider each of these possibilities so that you can find the best solution for your team.
No matter how simple the project you are working on, it is essential to step-by-step communicate with team members. Teams need to know that communication is an integral part of the team. It is the bridge between the management and the teams. Communication will help keep your team members working together and in sync with what you are trying to accomplish. When you are able to keep your team in sync with what you are doing, then your project will run more efficiently and with less headache for both you and your team.