This article is written by guest blogger Megan Sandwick of Strategic Productivity Partner.
The new normal of social distancing means many project team members are now working from home. In a remote world, it is more important than ever to be intentional when working with others and very specific in our delegation and accountability processes. Social distancing has decentralized our teams, and our new reality as business professionals is trying to get more done from home with new and unexpected team dynamics.
In a fast-paced remote world, successful project completion requires the ability to quickly and intentionally take control, assign ownership for all project deliverables, and agree on an accountability plan.
One of the most important things we can do to set ourselves, and those we work with, up for success is create new habits that ensure you are all on the same page. Use this time as an opportunity to develop familiar patterns with built-in accountability you can use when assigning tasks. This seven-step process can help you build delegation and accountability habits to reduce stress and focus on producing your best results.
The first step of project management is alignment — making sure everyone is on the same page and providing everyone with consistent information. If everyone involved in working on a project has different expectations, you won't receive the desired results.
Empower all team members by setting clear expectations for project completion, including the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Cooperation and success will happen when everyone understands your desired outcome, knows their role, and is in agreement about which steps are going to be completed.
The alignment process is even more critical in a remote workspace. Take the time to let everyone voice their understanding of project alignment. Follow up with team members one-on-one, or have everyone sum up their project responsibilities to the group via chat, so everyone is in alignment with your desired outcomes.
The next step in the delegation and accountability process is to assign clear tasks to specific people with definite completion dates. The only way for a job or project to be completed successfully is when each person knows what is expected of them.
If there is no agreement when actions are going to be completed, they will be completed whenever, and that will not work with a deadline.
The third step is to allocate all resources needed to complete the project. Forward progress and momentum will only happen when people can access the assets they need. This includes supplies, information, passwords, and identifying people who can help. When delegating work in a remote world, it is essential to connect with individuals to confirm they have access to the assets needed to complete their work.
The fourth step is the hardest for some people — sit back and allow your people to finish their tasks. Trust your team. The only way a person can complete action items is if you give them time and space. If you are concerned they will not do the tasks correctly, go back to step one, and make sure you are in alignment.
The fifth step is assessing progress. To be sure everything is on track, you need to receive detailed status updates at predetermined times. Getting regular, accurate status updates throughout the project is critical to timely and thorough completion.
Schedule status updates and check-in times to assess progress evenly throughout the project. This will allow you to ensure your team is on track for a successful completion. In an office environment, we often set these meetings up on the fly. In a remote world, we have to be intentional and plan time for assessment. This is a great time to make the assessment process a habit, one that can (and should) carry over when we return to our office spaces.
After you've assessed the project, the next step is to act on the information you gathered by adjusting your processes. Identify and make any necessary adjustments so the project will be completed timely, accurately, and above expectations. When adjustments and updates are clearly communicated, everyone involved in the project will remain in alignment until the project is completed.
The adjustment period of a project is critical to successful completion. Be intentional. Ensure your teammates take ownership and adjust as needed to meet expectations. This will empower your team for project success.
The final step is accountability. Holding each person accountable for the work they did or did not do is essential to successful long-term performance. If a person always completes tasks timely and accurately, it might be time to revisit and provide greater responsibilities. On the other hand, if a person is not held accountable and does not receive specific and constructive feedback, performance will not improve.
The goal of this seven-step process is to build expectations for delegation and accountability so that they become habits. Increasing your intentionality when delegating work to others will increase your awareness of project status and performance. Find ways to increase clear expectations during this time of uncertainty. It will help you and your colleagues be confident that projects will be completed successfully and exceed expectations.
Megan is the founder of SPP (Strategic Productivity Partner), a resource to help entrepreneurs and small business owners set goals, complete projects, and take control of productivity to achieve increased earnings. As partners, we will implement personalized habits and processes to take control of your productivity. Learn more on the SPP website or LinkedIn, where Megan gives daily productivity tips.
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