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How committed is your project team?

Roger La Salle
October 16, 2013

The one thing common to most organisations is that they employ staff across all levels to assist them in realising its goals. But what is it that would make a person stay back late at night or come to work very early or work weekends when necessary? In looking at individuals within an organisation, how can we be sure each person is really committed to success? Just how hard will they try?

The answer lies in commitment, a determination to succeed, and in the project manager allowing them to take personal responsibility for their part of the task. But this will only happen if the people have respect and confidence in their leaders and a personal commitment to fulfil whatever they have agree to achieve.

How can we have people working in a project team prove their commitment and, moreover, how can we put those people to the test?

Winning commitment

The answer lies in proper project planning with written tasks, goals and a timeline and target dates. In fact there is one school of thought that says nothing ever gets finished without a target. If there is no date required for an activity to be completed then why bother to do it at all?

Thus at the commencement of a project it is vitally important to develop some sort of time line chart to layout the project as a map of the activities to be undertaken and thus arrive at a target date for completion.

In a complex project involving many players a PERT or Gantt chart should be drawn showing the critical intersections of project activities and, just as importantly, the dates that each activity should be completed as well as the person that has agreed to take responsibility for meeting that agreed date.

Testing commitment

In developing such a chart it is vital that the participants involved have an input and agree to what’s drawn and perhaps even have them personally initial the chart indicating they have agreed to the timeline and their part in meeting it. In this way you can be sure that there can be no later doubt as to just who is responsible for any slippage.

In the case that an individual sees problems in meeting their agreed goal it is their responsibility to signal that well in advance so adjustments can be made to the overall project timeline and remedial actions taken.

Armed with this type of project development tool it is easy to see those really committed and ready to put in the extra hours if needed. A failure to ‘go the extra mile’ when needs be is a strong signal that commitment is lacking. There can be no better way to manage a project, staff and test for commitment.

Roger La Salle
Roger La Salle is the creator of the Matrix Thinking technique. He specialises in innovation, opportunity and business development, and speaks at international events on those topics. He is the author of four books, director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian and overseas.
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