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Here are my top 10 Ways of Working for a successful project team:

  1. Clarity of vision and strategy throughout the project life
    • Most programmes start off with a big launch and several kick off meetings with sponsors, stakeholders and delivery partners. This is an esential initiative to get everyone aligned with the strategy, business objectives, culture, measures and geovernance.
    • However, many programmes then get into delivery and forget to revisit and remind all parties of the vision. Even if the vision doesnt change it is imperative that everyone is reminded of why they are doing their tasks, linking to the strategy and objectives.
    • This will help with decision making, prioritsation, motivation, and teamwork. 
    • Without the continuous clarity of vision and strategy, the programme may drift into new areas of scope, make the worng priorities and individuals may feel lacking in purpose and value
  2. Active sponsorship and regular leadership engagement 
    • Sponsors tend to prioiritise their presence at initiation and escalation. It is up to the programme manager to ensure that their sponsor is 'active', meaning that regular attendance at key meetings and 'floor waking' occurs
    • The presence of a sponsor drives motivation and demonstrates the importance of the programme to all the team. If the sponsor is perceived to have lost interest then there is a risk that the team will lose some impetus and drive.
    • Good practices for sponsors are: giving awards, writing blogs, updating on strategy, floor walking, and buying drinks!
  3. Encourage challenge, fully adopt consensus
    • Everyone has an opinion and should be able to voice it, whether it be a good idea or a serious concern
    • Inside the project there can be challenge and dispute, delivered and managed in a constructive way
    • But open dispute should never be left hanging. Consensus should be reached and understood by all parties 
    • Once consensus is achieved, everyone should adopt the collective view and act accordingly
  4. Open internal communication, controlled external communication 
    • Communication inside a project can be free and open, and is particularly productive with a co-located team
    • When it comes to communication outside the project, it needs to be controlled and consistent in messaging 
    • Externally, there needs to be a joined up and consistent communiction to the right audience, in the right style and contect, at the right time
  5. 100% allocated resource and co-located
    • In an ideal world there would be dedicated resource all in the same room or an area exclusive to the programme
    • This has many advantages: focus on one programme, regular informal sharing, immediate resolution of issues, reduction in meetings and reporting
    • It is not always practical for 'in demand' SMEs to be dedicated or everyone to be permanently away from home and therefore compromises may have to be made
    • If the programme is broken into smaller co-located teams and dedicated days (if not all week) then this can still achieve the benefits
    • If a compromise position is taken then regular 'sharing' sessions should be facilitated to create the similar environment, albeit temporary and not so responsive
  6. Clear roles and responsibilities, published governance
    • It may seem obvious to say that everyone should know what they and their team members are responsible and accountable for, but this is often not the case
    • Once published, roles and responsibilities need to be maintained. The absence of these could cause confusion in accountability and therefore gaps in delivery
    • The need for personal development and career management doesn't stop during transformation programmes and so roles and responsibilities should also include stretch capabilities, as long as this doesn't present a risk to delivery
  7. Documentation and reporting for value, acknowledge when for record
    • Programme governance of large programmes can be onerous and off little value, but also very important to provide direction
    • The PMO needs to prepare concise and where possible, autiomated, reporting to enabke everyone to focus on the important things
    • Where reporting is perceived to be of little value it needs to be challenged and removed
    • At times, we need to acknowledge that some reporting is required for other purposes outside the programme and this needs to be productionalised as much as possible
  8. Ongoing engagement with other projects and business scenarios
    • The vision and strategy of a programme shouldnt change significantly but scope is likely to remain fluid in programmes of long duration
    • By keeping abreast of all of the other projects and activities in the business, the impacts can be caught early and any change in direction accommodated with minimal cost
    • Similarly, it is likely that a transformational programme will have implications on many other projects and business scenarios and so there should be continual communication to impacted areas  
  9. Disciplined scope management
    • Scope will change, however well the initial definition was. Businesses change, external influences change, people change, and so we should expect scope change
    • Disciplined scope management is not an option - governance of design, impacts and risks needs to be done for every change in order to make good decisions
    • Communication of scope change outcomes is essential inside and outside of the programme team, so that everyone is aware of how it affects them and the cost/benefit of the decision
  10. Ongoing stakeholder management at all levels 
    • Sometimes, the most disruptive influence on a project can be from uninformed people who have a strong view or concern about the change
    • Being proactive with all stakeholders will usually prevent untimely 'bombs' being thrown at the project and causing unncessary effort
    • All managers in the programme should be encouraged to create and maintain stakeholder maps to ensure all the right people are being engaged at the right level and frequency