Today is a great day! At long last, you have received approval to move forward with a new training project. You’ve clearly defined the project, put a project plan in place and researched top training companies. You’re well aware that great planning up front can save plenty of time later.
Now it’s time to get started. You jump in feet first and ask for volunteers to join the project team. You are gratified at the number of people who want to work on the project and assign tasks as people come on-board. Maybe you don’t need to go with an external training company after all…
Flash forward 3 months – the project has stalled, tasks are incomplete, milestones are not being met and it’s a struggle just to get the team to agree on the smallest details. Team members seem to have lost interest or are just unavailable. So what went wrong? You planned it all out, including defining tasks and milestones and you had a fantastic team of volunteers…or did you? And that was your “ah ha” moment – perhaps you should have given a little extra time to identifying your project team or have hired contract training consultants from a training company who provides experts in the field.People are often times the most unpredictable team resource. However, proper planning can mitigate this uncertainty and increase the probability that your team will be the success you envisioned. To identify your team start by asking these questions:
What are the roles that need to be filled?
What are the expectations for the roles?
What tasks will they be expected to complete?
How much time will be required for the tasks?
Once the roles, tasks and skills have been determined it is time to consider who the best person to fill the role is.
When assessing potential candidates (or volunteers!), consider the following:
What is their background and experience?It’s best to look for those individuals that can bring skills to the team that align with the project goals and objectives. For example, if you are planning a customer service training program, look for individuals that have experience with your customers and can appreciate the importance of improving standards.
Do they have a relationship with the learners?When you add external members to the team that know the learning audience, they can help in several areas including subject expertise and content decisions. For example, they may identify content that has strayed for the training objectives, and perhaps is not something the learner needs to know.
What role will they fill?Make sure that you have the right person in the right role, based on their experience and the skills that they bring to the team. For example, the subject matter experts may know the content inside and out, but may not be in a position to approve a final deliverable.
Is the person you’ve identified available?You might have the right person, in the right role, with great skills and experience, but if they are not in a position to give the time commitment you require, it may be time to consider bringing in an external training consultant to assist so your project progress is not put on hold.
Teams are made up of individuals and having balanced characteristics can make the difference between a good team and great team. Some key characteristics of highly effective teams include:
- Able to work well – alone and with others
- Willing to trust and support
Once you’ve established the project team and set role expectations, it’s time to get the team together and check that everyone is on the same page. Ensure internal and external team members understand their tasks, as well as the tasks of others. Set clear expectations of who will be doing what, when and how decisions will be made.
It’s never easy to work on a project. We all know that things can and do go astray, even with the best planning. There are often unforeseen obstacles, scope issues and a multitude of other things. What can and will make it easier is an effective project team, working together and celebrating success. However, when the going gets hard it’s good to know that you have a top training company by your side to help you successfully reach your project goals.
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