It's no secret that teams can be derailed by a variety of factors, both within and outside of their control. The key to maintaining momentum is to be proactive about identifying and addressing potential problems before they have a chance to throw the team off course.
Here are ten preemptive operational tactics you can use to keep your team on track.
- Make sure tools and equipment are properly maintained to avoid downtime
- Create a detailed project plan
- Make sure everyone is aware of the project goals before starting
- Encourage open communication among team members
- Delegate tasks based on skills and ability
- Offer incentives for meeting milestones
- Set realistic goals that can be achieved within the timeline
- Break down the project into smaller tasks to make it more manageable
- Have a contingency plan for when things go wrong
- Celebrate successes along the way
1. Make sure tools and equipment are properly maintained to avoid downtime
One of the major reasons that projects go off the rails or hit roadblocks is because of equipment or tool failures. To avoid this, it's crucial that you properly maintain all tools and equipment throughout the project. This means keeping an eye on things like expiration dates, safety checks, and general wear and tear.
If something does fail, make sure to have a backup plan in place so that you can quickly get things up and running again. Downtime can be costly, so it's important to be as prepared as possible. There are also compliance reasons for making sure that tools and equipment are properly maintained, so it's not something you can afford to overlook.
Maintenance also increasingly means ensuring that any software and IoT technology that is involved in the production process is kept up to date. This is the foundation of good cybersecurity in every facet of the business.
Cybercriminals have an increasing number of options when it comes to infiltrating systems, gaining access to data and even holding entire productions hostage. Cyber attacks often mean business grinds to a halt while a company responds to threats and demands.
2. Create a detailed project plan
Details can get out of control, but you absolutely need to break down a project in as much detail as possible to avoid problems later on. This is what a project plan is for: it's a living document that outlines all the steps and milestones of a project from start to finish.
If you're not sure where to start, there are plenty of templates available online that you can use. Just make sure to tailor it to your specific project so that it's as accurate and helpful as possible.
3. Make sure everyone is aware of the project goals before starting
Even before starting out, it's fundamental that everyone knows what the project's goals are. This way, everyone can be on the same page from the get-go and avoid any confusion or misunderstanding later on.
One way to make sure this happens is to have a kickoff meeting at the beginning of the project. In this meeting, you can go over the goals and objectives of the project so that everyone is clear about what needs to be done. Don't be afraid to follow up periodically to ensure that everyone is still on track.
4. Encourage open communication among team members
Open communication refers to the free flow of information among team members. It's important because it allows everyone to stay on the same page and avoid miscommunication or misunderstanding.
There are a few things you can do to encourage open communication on your team. First, promote an environment where people feel comfortable asking questions. Second, make sure that everyone knows how to reach each other, whether that's through email, chat, or in person. And third, encourage team members to give feedback to each other, both positive and constructive.
5. Delegate tasks based on skills and ability
Knowing the people and skills you have at your disposal can make or break project management success. It's important to delegate tasks based on skills and ability so that everyone is able to complete their assigned tasks efficiently.
For example, if you have a team member who is great at design, it would make sense to assign them to the task of creating visuals for the project. On the other hand, if you have someone who is better at writing, they could be responsible for creating documentation. The key is to find the sweet spot where everyone is able to do their best work.
6. Offer incentives for meeting milestones
People can lose sight of the goal if they're not properly motivated. One way to keep everyone on track is to offer incentives for meeting milestones. This could be anything from a bonus at the end of the project to public recognition for a job well done.
Whatever you choose, make sure that it's something that will actually motivate people to do their best work. Incentives that are too small or not relevant will be ignored, which can actually make things worse.
7. Set realistic goals that can be achieved within the timeline
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This acronym is a helpful way to remember what makes a goal effective. When setting goals for your project, make sure that they meet all of these criteria.
If a goal is too vague or unrealistic, it can be discouraging for team members and lead to frustration. On the other hand, if a goal is too easy, it won't challenge people to do their best work. Finding the right balance is key to setting goals that will actually help your team succeed.
8. Break down the project into smaller tasks to make it more manageable
The more manageable a task, the more likely it is to get done. This is why it's important to break down the project into smaller tasks that can be easily completed. Not only does this make things more manageable for team members, but it also helps to keep the project on track as a whole.
For example, if you're working on a website redesign, break the project down into smaller tasks like creating wireframes, designing the homepage, and coding the site. This will make it easier for everyone involved and help to avoid overwhelm.
9. Have a contingency plan for when things go wrong
Things will go wrong; it's inevitable. The important thing is to have a contingency plan in place for when they do. This way, you can avoid a complete disaster and keep the project on track.
Your contingency plan should address common issues that could arise, such as team members getting sick or equipment breaking down. It should also include a plan of action for each issue so that everyone knows what to do if something goes wrong.
You should also have a disaster response plan in place for responding to cyber-attacks. For example, regularly backing up data to a secure server in order to avoid catastrophe in the event of a ransomware attack should be your first step.
If cybercriminals do gain access to your data and threaten to destroy it if you don’t pay up, you are in a much better position than if you didn’t regularly back up your information. Instead of having to scramble, you can go directly to the authorities.
10. Celebrate successes along the way
One of the best ways to keep people motivated and with their eye on the prize is to celebrate successes along the way. This doesn't mean throwing a huge party every time something goes right, but it does mean taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate milestones as they're reached.
This could be anything from a simple email congratulating the team on a job well done to an informal gathering where everyone can take a break and relax. Whatever you do, make sure that it's something that everyone will enjoy and that it actually celebrates the success of the project.
Project management is a complex process, but there are a few simple things you can do to increase your chances of success. By setting realistic goals, breaking down the project into manageable tasks, and keeping everyone motivated, you can help to ensure that your project stays on track.
Note: This blog article was written by a guest contributor for the purpose of offering a wider variety of content for our readers. The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of GlobalSign.