When starting up a project, quite often project leaders pull together new teams with new players. Even departments in the organisation that contribute to the project, have new players. In other words, new teams must start from scratch. Before a project has already started, it is hindered by the lack of prior knowledge.
How do you bring the projects teams and performance influencers up to speed as quickly as possible? In these circumstances how is it possible to quickly start up a project, give it huge amounts of momentum to accelerate a project toward a successful delivery?
There are 3 knowledge management steps you can take to give a project a head start:
The greatest individual leadership asset is the ability to leverage other people by encouraging collaboration. From the very outset, you should capture and share the individual and collective knowledge of the team.
By capturing & sharing knowledge, insights and experience from the team helps everyone to benefit and learn from what has succeeded and what has failed and why – ultimately benefitting the business and the project.
Everyone brings their own experience and perceptions for others to learn from. This can cover a wealth of relevant subjects to the project including organisational, environmental, legal, jurisdiction, community, practices, processes, stakeholders and influencers etcetera.
Each individual feels valued through her contribution and this cross pollination also builds respect and trust – which is the backbone to any strong team.
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The key to a “learning” or “growth” mindset is the attitude that where failure exists it is an opportunity to learn and improve what you do and how you do it.
A well embodied set of corporate values that are espoused by Executive and Senior Management to learn and grow from undesirable experiences will allow teams to open up.
Making it OK to talk about mistakes as critical feedback, benefits the organisation and can be considered an investment for improvement. Its purpose being relevant to the growth of the project and the organisation.
In a project context, informal interviewing and formal project start-up meetings allows you to take the initiative early on to gather as much information from as many people as possible.
Build into project progress meetings a lesson-learned “moment”. This moment can be project specific or outside of the project and focusses the mindset on continual improvement.
Even acknowledging where lessons have been incorporated and recognising the results, does two things:
- It demonstrates the value of continual improvement with notable business and project benefits arising
- Through subtle reward and recognition, it also generates valuable stimuli and the will to repeat the practice, which strengthens teams and embeds good practice
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Interestingly, I have experienced working in organisations where two interacting departments had made assumptions on what and how the other operates. They were both incorrect which slowed down their processes and exchanges and failed to win trust.
By getting together and clarifying how work flows through departments created the opportunity to identify greater efficiency gains, less re-work and other valued benefits.
Also, rather than learning from just the mistakes & successes internally to your organisation, look to learn from what others have done elsewhere. This can be in the same industry, sector or project type, or it can also be from others. This can include areas and topics associated with the team or project including human resources, management, governance, information technology, legal compliance, project, programme management and others. Not only will this help you identify where and how you can improve what you do, but it will strengthen bonds, expand networks, create opportunities (resource sharing for example) or something else that results in mutual gains.
Good knowledge management will prove to be the linchpin that turns your organisation around through effective resource management, that accelerates projects to meet community and customer expectations with less rework, greater efficiencies, and greater gains.
Why re-invent the wheel and start from scratch? Harness the knowledge that already exists to maximise the success of your project!
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If you would like to continue the conversation, give feedback, or if you would like to know more about accelerating projects, please do so by emailing Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org