The PM Podcast


Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Episode 307: Four Ways to Build and Maintain High-Performing Teams (Free)

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Maria Kozlova

Individuals make up our project teams, and we project managers, all too often, are gauged based on what these teams can accomplish, which is why building and maintaining high-performing teams should always be a priority for you and me.

How to do this was recently described in an article titled Four Ways to Build and Maintain High-Performing Teams. And so I’m very pleased to welcome Maria Kozlova (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/maria-kozlova/9/76/336) from Comindware on the show today to discuss these four ways.

Oh… and spoiler alert… one of them is collaboration.

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #307. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I am Cornelius Fichtner.

Individuals make up our project teams and we project managers all too often are gauged based on what these teams can accomplish which is why building and maintaining high-performing teams should always be a priority for you and me.

How to do this was recently described in an article titled "Four Ways to Build and Maintain High-Performing Teams". And so, I am very pleased to welcome Maria Kozlova from www.Comindware.com on the show today to discuss these four ways. And spoiler alert, one of them is collaboration.

Before we get started with the interview, I'd like to mention that I'm personally very excited about the new PMP® Exam prep ebooks that we have completed. We now have the PMP Essentials Study Guide™, The ITTO Memory Jogger™, and The PMI Exam Audit Kit™. So if you are preparing for your PMP® Exam and you are looking for answers to the questions like "What concepts do I have to know for the exam?" "How do I study all these ITTO's for the exam?" or "How do I best prepare for an exam audit?" then please stop by at www.pm-prepcast.com/ebooks and take a look.

And now, let's build a high-performing team. Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview.

Cornelius Fichtner: Today with Maria Kozlova, Product Marketing Director at Comindware Incorporated.

Hello, Maria! Welcome to The Project Management Podcast™.

Maria Kozlova: Hello, Cornelius! Happy to be here!

Cornelius Fichtner: So we want to talk about the ways to build and maintain a high--performing team these days. Let's go straight to the core here. How does a high-performing team look like today?

Maria Kozlova: That's actually a great question because it defines the answers and basically in the high tech world that we have today with the tendencies towards mobility, towards everything in the cloud, towards offices and teams working in different locations and actually requiring information in real time, the key to the high-performing team is to have access to information anytime. It means that team members do need to have access to their devices. Devices have to stay, to keep working on any network and basically, they need to be fully aware of what's happening with them in terms of their activities and what's happening with their team members.

Cornelius Fichtner: So are we only talking about the technological side here or are we also talking about interactions between the team members?

Maria Kozlova: Well the technologies, the media is a way to enable collaboration and enable communication. It is a way to facilitate collaboration. It was necessary for…basically, it is one of the points, one of the requirements for traditional project management. However, today with the teams interacting more dynamically and as I say, in different conditions, this becomes a prerequisite.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! So let's take a look at the four ways that you suggest in which we can build and maintain high-performing teams. And today we're going to do this. You sent me the list before this interview. I am going to read out each of these priorities and then hand it over to you so you can talk to us a little bit more in detail and develop each of these priorities. So priority one you say is: We need clarity of objectives and visibility into ongoing activities. Tell us more about that.

Maria Kozlova: Okay. So there are two ways to look at it. There are two parties in project management. One is a project manager and that is the key person who orchestrates, who sets up the process, who orchestrates the tasks, who orchestrates the process and this is where the visibility into ongoing activities comes to the first place. A project manager has to stay on top of everything that's happening. He needs to have a clear picture of the missed deadlines, work overloads, et cetera. So this is the visibility issue.

On the other side and it has been one of the major gaps in traditional project management solutions. It is the team members. Basically, it is the inability for team members to have the same clear and up to date picture of the ongoing activities. This is even more sometimes in professional services, projects or in marketing projects, it is even more important for team members to be up to date on the priorities to be actually working on the tasks that are on top of the agenda.

The way it has been handled traditionally was that sink-up meetings were required. Emails where a project manager would have to set up synchronization, status quos. These are all time consuming. You end up spending more time on getting the team up to date than they are working. So that's why we at Comindware see that the first priority is to get clear, to get maximum clarity for the team members on the task that they have.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! Priority two is availability of data and documents, all at hand, centrally stored with unified access to all the documents. That pretty much follows along the theme of what you said in priority one. So let's delve into this a little bit more.

Maria Kozlova: Okay! So first thing, we have defined the tasks. We have defined who is working on what and we're sure that every team member is working on the top priority for them at the given point of time.

The second thing that we need to enable and actually to enforce is that the team members are working with the data that is up to date, with the data that is actual. And here, we come to the question that for all kinds of projects, no matter how professional, how multi-phased or if it's just some trial test management. There are always several people working and they can be working on the same documentation or can be involved in the same activities.

What is crucial here is that, when you're looking at a document, you need to be sure that that's the latest version. When you're looking at the communication thread, you know our emails or in discussion room, you need to be sure that what you're reading is the latest and complete information. This can only be achieved if your system allows for that, if it provides for document versioning, if it allows for centralization of discussions and for email exchange.

Cornelius Fichtner: Moving on to the priority #3. Here we're talking about the KPI's, the key performance indices and reporting success and failures that you have. This must be measurable. It's about knowing the time that you spent and the resources, the workload and ultimately the return on investment. Take us into that please.

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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