Sunday, February 17, 2008

Frozen Team Members...

As I look outside today at the ice covered roads and trees it reminds me of a project team member I had once (that is frozen when asked a question).

Typically mid week I'll do the walk around and chat with my Team Members (or give them a call if they are off site) and ask for a few updates on their weekly project tasks. I had one team member that was never interested in chatting with me to give me an update on his tasks. So I tried something different. During the days I would do my walk around I would email him with a few questions and I asked him for a few updates. Within a few hours he would respond back with an excellent update.

After a few weeks of doing this with him I tried a slightly different approach. I still sent out the email and waited for a response. The next thing I mixed in was following up with him with a few more verbal questions which were related to the original question. When I did it, he was now ready for a discussion on the issues since I primed him with my email.

What I learned from this is that as a PM you must be flexible in your communication styles. Today I see so many PMs look to ask their questions and manage their projects via email. Why? The typical reason they give is documentation. That is fine, but is it still possible to do this face to face or with a phone call. How? After your discussion document it in an email and then send it to the person you spoke with.

Remember 90% of Project Management is communication! You must master all forms of communication and be flexible with your team members to be an effective Project Manager.

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