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Seven-Step Model for New Projects With Many Average Performers
By Ramesh Palle, PMP
Every organization as part of its training, analysis, and design, identify the best practices of top performers and then design a model to be used across the organization. The proposed model helps in initiating the best practices for any new project where we onboard a different set of individuals to work as a team to deliver the best to the customers in a time and cost effective manner. We also focus more on average performers to help them understand what best performers do, put it to practice, and start contributing more to the project effectively from the beginning.

1. Expectations and Feedback: To improve human performance, we must first describe it clearly. Most programs focus on improving the behavior; we keep the focus on what people produce (the output). People per se create cost to the project but what they produce create value. Hence, defining the expectations play an important role. Against the expectations we need to define the feedback mechanism at the initial stage of the project itself, and not definitely towards the end of the project.

2. Attitude Preferences: Today many individuals work in a virtual environment. Itís a good idea to have pre-defined attitude preferences for the project, which keeps the crosscultural team well informed of what needs to be practiced across the project. Setting up attitude preferences should lead to employee satisfaction, which includes preferences for type of work, available incentives, and the working environment.

3. Tools and Resources: This step covers particular tools that we use to perform the defined work of an individual, along with the work processes.

We also need to identify resources that add value at the desired intervals for performance, like availability of expert consultants, reference documentations, mentoring, and facilitation opportunities at critical times.

4. Results and Rewards: Define clearly the intended and inadvertent consequences of performance in both monetary and non-monetary terms. This may involve negative consequences built into the work process, such as failure by other departments or teams, which punish doing the right things for an individual and impact the overall project.

5. Skills and Knowledge: At times we need to plan for training to improve the skills and knowledge of an individual, which is sometimes based on our experience. We identify job aids as an intervention to support the skills and knowledge for an individual. Planning for this step is more dependent on the next step, where we select a resource and assign the right job to an individual.

6. Selection and Assignment: We need to be more careful during onboard of a resource to the project and ensure that the individual brings to the job the required qualities that the project cannot be expected to provide (e.g. personal qualities, social skills, application skills, and functional knowledge) and that the project manages through optimal selection of people and assignment to jobs based on their capabilities.

7. Monitor and Control Performance: We often put insufficient focus on monitoring and controlling the performance of an individual and the team. This is an important step. Define the frequency of monitoring and provide the right support to ensure that the individualís performance is as desired and as defined at the beginning, which should continue till the closure of the project.

This seven-step model will help a new project by increasing the teamís productivity, if all the defined steps are followed from the beginning of the project to the end.

(Mr. Ramesh Palle, PMP, works as an SAP project manager with IBM India Pvt. Ltd. in Hyderabad. He has around 18 years of experience in several industry verticals. For the past four years, he has been handling delivery and project management for multiple accounts.)
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