Productivity Tips for Project Leads: Understanding Your Team and Getting Tasks Done

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As a project lead, your job is to make sure that your team is on the same page. They should understand their tasks, and complete them efficiently. But this is easier said than done, especially when you’re dealing with multiple team members, each with their own expertise and unique perspective. 

To understand the importance of being on the same page, let’s use the analogy of a house. Imagine you’re viewing the front of the house, and another team member is viewing the back of the house. If you say there are six windows in the building, and they say there are only two, you realise that even though you’re looking at the same house, you’re seeing different things. It’s essential to ensure that when assigning tasks, the team is viewing the task from the same angle you are viewing it. 

Trust Comes First 

Before you can start assigning tasks, you need to establish trust within your team. If any member of your team doesn’t trust that someone else is doing their best or is able to complete their tasks; that’s a bigger problem than the task itself. Trust is the fundamental building block of how a team can function efficiently. 

One way you can establish trust is by communicating clearly and frequently with team members, ensuring they have a full understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and expectations. Another way is to empower team members by providing them with the resources they need to complete their tasks and allowing them to make decisions within their area of expertise. 

Additionally, managers can build trust by being transparent and honest with team members about the project’s status, challenges, and progress. Another method is to demonstrate a willingness to listen to team members’ feedback and concerns and to act upon them when necessary. Finally, recognizing team members’ contributions and successes can also help establish trust and build a positive team dynamic.

Cross-Communication is Key 

Cross-communication is like a dance between different teams, each moving in harmony to ensure a successful outcome. It entails exchanging ideas, feedback, and information seamlessly between different groups, with the ultimate goal of delivering a cohesive project. Think of it as a symphony where each instrument has its unique part to play, but when they come together, they create a beautiful harmony that can move the audience. Effective cross-communication is essential for any project’s success, it ensures that everyone is on the same page and is working towards a common goal.

Figuring Out Sigmas 

Sigma refers to the standard deviation of the time it takes to complete tasks in a project. If you have a project with several tasks that need to be completed, each task may take a different amount of time to finish. Some tasks may take longer than others, and some may be completed more quickly. 

The standard deviation measures how spread out those completion times are. Knowing the standard deviation of task completion times can be helpful in project management because it allows you to better estimate how long the entire project will take to complete. 

If the standard deviation is high, that means there is a lot of variation in task completion times, which can make it harder to accurately predict when the project will be done. If the standard deviation is low, that means task completion times are more consistent, which can make it easier to predict when the project will be finished.

Figuring out when a project is due and how long things are going to take can be a daunting task. That’s one of the main reasons why the biggest technical approach is uncoupling things so that everything is less dependent on other things, making task estimation easier. 

Art tasks have sigmas that are dependent on how many iterations and revisions they need. Early on in a project, art tasks will have high sigma. Later on, they’ll have lower sigma because the artists are dialled in, they know exactly what something needs to look like, and they have a perfect hand in producing that work. Often, you’ll find that all their sigmas are negative because something will take even less time than initially projected. 

Batching Your Tasks 

To implement task batching, you can group similar tasks together and allocate dedicated blocks of time to complete them. This approach can help you maintain your focus and reduce distractions while working on similar tasks. For example, you can allocate a block of time to respond to emails or messages, another block of time to write reports or create presentations, and another block of time for coding or debugging. Batching your tasks can help you increase your productivity and manage your time more effectively. 

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