Every person is unique, which means every team is unique. Because no two teams are alike, what worked for one team won’t necessarily achieve results for another. Even successful teams might need a fresh approach when working on a different project.
Understanding your differences from the start will make your team — and the work — stronger later on. That’s why we recommend creating a new game plan at the start of each project for working together as a team. Use the five tips below to get started.
Start with a pre-kickoff meeting that isn’t about the work but the team members. Give everyone a chance to share their role in the project, what they’re looking forward to and how they’d like to grow. Team members can jot their thoughts down on Post-it® Super Sticky Notes then review them using a Post-it® Super Sticky Easel Pad. It’s easier for teams to discuss ideas when they’re all together and highly visible.
In your kickoff meeting, work together to set expectations about how you’d like to work. This ensures everyone has a say and is on the same page when it comes to team protocol. For example, how will you communicate with each other? How often will you meet in person versus digitally? Will you stop sending emails at a certain time each day?
There are many work processes out there for different kinds of projects and teams. A team working on a complex, long-term project might benefit from the Kanban method, while Gantt charts are ideal for projects with several dependent tasks. Having a smooth work process in place enhances your team’s strengths and makes it easier to achieve your project goals, so take some time to find the method that fits your team best. You can invite team members to vote for their preferred work process using Post-it® Flags.
You can’t know if your project was successful if you don’t define success from the start. Determine the deliverables or results that will mean your team has “won.” For example, will it be an overhauled website? A 20 percent increase in subscriptions? Make sure these goals are reasonable and trackable to ensure the greatest chance of success.
Resist the urge to stuff your kickoff meeting with topics. Overwhelming team members at the start of a project can set the stage for confusion and low morale. Instead, be thorough, but brief — aim to keep the meeting to one hour max. Don’t forget to write your final thoughts on an Easel Sheet so everyone’s ideas are kept front and center.
Projects big and small all start with a single step. By learning about each other’s differences and working together to set goals and expectations early, your team will be on the path to success from day one.