Leadership and how to deal with the challenges!

ValueMiner GmbH, Robert J. Schiermeier

Nothing is new under the sun one says. After more than 30 years as a line manager and especially project manager – I still feel the same basic issues keep repeating themselves. Here are my thoughts on some of them and how I try to deal with them.

Culture and motivation

Do you want to create a “can do” culture where everybody helps each other and people are not afraid of asking for help/ admitting not knowing everything?

Here are my favourite tips:

  • Establish active teams leads that are enthusiastic, supporting and leads by example
  • Combine team members that can be complementary to each other
  • As manager guide your team leads by establishing a hands-on attitude by involving yourself in understanding the topics at hand, help take proactive actions and immediately take actions when deviations occur or things get stuck
  • Build small teams with clear responsibilities for weekly sprint goals
  • Hold small daily 15-minute scrum meetings to focus on practical to-does and get feedback
  • Manage by walking around and showing interest in what people are doing

Work smarter – not just harder

I think we consequently neglect to think enough before we act.

Therefore:

  • Invest time in setting a clear strategy based on an analytical approach to recognizing your objectives, challenges, solutions and deliverables) – I personally prefer the ValueMiner approach
  • Always work with plan B and C scenarios from the very start (and use them actively to correct course)
  • Define clear but simple ways to prioritize, estimate effort and measure progress. This will help you determine if you can do it all – or how best to correct your course
  • Make sure all team members understand the dependencies in your strategy and actively figure out how best to achieve the results

Reduce administrative complexity and increase agility

Get rid of red tape.

Therefore:

  • Be true to simple and measurable weekly results as the focus of managing the team
  • Hold weekly lessons learned, grooming and re-planning sessions for each sprint
  • Avoid complex KPI calculations based on combination of large data sources. You will just end up spending all your time chasing data quality issues
  • Document and do continuous improvement of process and procedures which are simple and explicit
  • Make somebody accountable and the active driver of admin process improvement
  • Incentivise administrative simplification

Keep cross-organization value chains intact, alert and agile and with the right sense of urgency

Make it your ambition to smoothen out cooperation processes that go across organizational boundaries.

  • Integrate organizational units closer in the daily processes
  • Appoint clear drivers of key processes across organizations (to avoid complex handover of responsibilities and red-tape)
  • Secure frequent joint presence between organizations
  • Build a clearer chain of command across the organizations
  • Appoint hands-on persons to follow-through across organizational barriers

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by Øystein Ullnæss