Whenever you kick off a new project, you should do so starting with a “new project meeting.” In this meeting you’ll lay out the objectives, the methodologies you’ll be using, the various roles in the team and last but not least, the ground rules. The ground rules are the operating agreements that keep the project on task as things move forward.
Here are a few ground rules that can help you make sure you keep your team on track.
==> If Something’s Off Course, Let the Group Know
It can be very tempting to try and hide things that aren’t going well. It can be especially easy to do so if all the person has to do is not mention it. They’re not “lying,” they’re just neglecting to share something.
This undermines the team. Instead, aim to create a culture where people honestly share mistakes without blame. People should feel comfortable bringing up problems and resolving them as a group.
==> One Person Per Task
Every task or project should be owned by one person. That person is ultimately responsible for that task being done on time.
This person is free to bring in outside help to help get things done on time. They can even “outsource” aspects of the task to other team members or people outside the team.
However, if mistakes happen or if the task doesn’t meet a deadline, that person is still responsible for it.
==> Meetings Are Done Standing Up
By and large, things don’t get done during meetings. Meetings often take up a whole lot of time without getting much work done. While meetings are often unavoidable, that’s no reason to spend a lot of time in meeting rooms.
One way around this is to create a ground rule of having all meetings standing up. That way, instead of trying to prolong meetings, team members say what they have to say then get back to productive work as quickly as possible.
==> Ask Before Going Off Course
You should have a game plan for the project as a whole. The game plan should include what IS and what ISN’T included in the project. If someone wants to do something that isn’t included in the project, ask first.
This helps prevent time and money from being spent on things that aren’t integral to success. Sure, having more things done is great, but make sure they should be done first before spending resources on it.
==> Have a Clear Chain of Communication
Who should reports be sent to? Who facilitates meetings? How are disputes handled? Whose permission is necessary to go above budget?
Lines of communication should be clarified before you begin any project.
Setting these ground rules for operating the project before you get started can help you save a lot of time and energy in the long run.