I’ll admit it. I’m a nuisance.
But I’m very good at it!
If your team is working towards a goal, especially if it’s on a tight timeline, you need to keep pushing.
Of course, there are firm “Dos and Don’ts” here.
- DON’T press hard when there’s no urgency. Your team is already busy. After a while they will start to ignore you.
- DON’T ask every hour on the hour. Give them time to work. No one appreciates a nag, and this will backfire. If they are blocked by another activity, this won’t help, only breed frustration.
- DO make the consequences clear, but DON’T threaten. We’re all adults…and professionals.
- DO come from a place of understanding. Acknowledge their time constraints. Be polite. Respect goes a long way.
What each of these Dos and Don’ts have in common is relationship.
When someone asks us to complete an action, especially when it’s inconvenient or difficult, human beings are more likely to start sooner, and with a more positive attitude, if we already have a good relationship with the requestor.
Project Managers don’t usually “own” their resources. All authority comes from our words and actions over time. If we want the team to willingly follow our instruction, we need to continuously build that relationship.
Finally, keep the team up to date along the way. Help them understand how their work and role fit into the whole. Listen to their ideas and especially to their concerns about the project. We’re all important to the success of the project; we just have different responsibilities.
There will always be project emergencies: Timeline crunches, failed testing, executive requests, issues that draw key resources away from the project for a while. It’s impossible to avoid them all. You will be a nuisance at some point in the project.
Just make sure you’re good at it!