Imagine, you start as project manager on a new project. There are some issues with the project, that is also of course the reason why they hired you. You have a tool box full of agile experiences to get the project going again. Is individual meetings with your team members one of those tools?
If not, you really have to add the tool to your toolbox! As project manager or manager or any one who is leading a group of people, you should have regular peer to peer (P2P) or one to one(1-2-1) meetings with your team members. Plan 30 minutes, in room where you can discuss things privately. Make sure you have some room in your agenda in case the meeting takes more time. It would be a shame when you have to stop a good conversation about something personal or emotional because you have another meeting. No meeting can be more important than a 1-2-1 meeting! You don’t have to create a formal agenda or minutes, it should be a free meeting to discuss anything you would like to discuss. Of course, are you allowed to think about the meeting before the meeting starts…
I hear some of you thinking, why should I plan a meeting? If we need to discuss something in our project, we will plan a meeting we already have so many meetings. In that case two remarks. Firstly, if you already have to many meetings, cancel all meetings and find out which one you really need. Secondly, in most cases you are too late… if one your team members would like to discuss with you that (s)he has an issue with a colleague, it’s already too late. You should have prevented this to become an issue… Plan regular meetings, every 4 weeks for example. If you don’t have anything to discuss your done within 5 minutes, otherwise take the time or even more time if necessary.
Why do you need to have P2P? Do you know what kind of project management style your team members like? Do they like freedom, just a global description of a task, or do they like to have small steps predefined? How are you able to facilitate/help/manage them if you don’t know what they like?
Do you know what the core motivation is of your team members? Why do they come to the office? Most of them will say for the money. ok but what’s there next driver. What are their personal drivers besides money? For example:
- John loves to work in a team and deliver a great results with the team;
- Jane loves to help other people, act as a coach;
- George would like to get the best out of him self, be a winner;
- Betty loves to work with new technologies, new concepts;
If you know the personal drivers of people, you also know which people to ask (not assign!) for which tasks. For example, who would you ask for team with several new team members? Betty is maybe not a good choice… I think Jane would be a better choice. There is a small project, to prove a new concept, who would you ask? Of course, it’s not always possible to ask everyone for his or her ideal task. However, when you have know what drivers are of people, you are able to motivate people. As project manager you should regular ask feedback about your self. What should you start doing as a project manager and what should you stop doing? I could imagine you feel afraid to ask these questions in a team room. The 1-2-1 meetings are a perfect moment to ask feedback about your self. Additionally, also to give feedback to the team members. I hope this blog helps you and that you will add an extra tool to your agile toolbox.
Please leave your comments, when did you had a 1-2-1 with your manager or team members for the last time? Was it useful?