- Joshua Robhes
- Melody MacKeand
- Galen Low
Min asked for recommendations on how to effectively manage teams and maintain healthy relationships. Min had implemented a daily work reporting system, but it seemed to have made the team feel micromanaged.
- Involving the team in change can make it easier to accept and implement.
- The team might not understand what is being achieved, so it is important to show them how productivity has improved and that they are doing a great job.
- Identifying the core issue is important. Whether it is a people, process, or system issue, it is important to find a solution and have open and honest conversations.
- A project management/work management system can be helpful in overseeing tasks without making the team feel micromanaged.
- Creating a psychologically-safe, judgment-free environment where folks giving estimates don't feel pressured to be optimistic can lead to more accurate estimates.
The conversation was helpful in providing Min with recommendations on how to effectively manage teams and maintain healthy relationships.
Checklist for Next Steps
- Identify the root issue
- Have open and honest conversations with the team
- Implement a project management/work management system
- Create a psychologically-safe, judgment-free environment for estimating tasks.
What They Would Do Differently
The Original Conversation
Hi PMs, I would love to know how you manage your teams and maintain a healthy relationships.One of our developers gave me the wrong estimate and failed to complete the project goals multiple times.As the agency did not have a proper work tracking system, I feel team was not being efficient enough. Since I am on board, I have implemented a system like “Daily work reporting,” Where each team member sends a report of what they have done throughout the day.Before, Devs used to say I need 4 days for this task, Now I have broken down the tasks into multiple smaller tasks and asked for time estimation in hours for each tasks instead of days.It seems like my system is making them do more work and I have become a bad boss.Now the developer has stopped replying to my emails.Based on your experience Please let me know,How can I be an effective manager without making my team member’s life hard?Regards,Mainul
Hi @MinI often find that these types of situations come down to context. Change is often a painful experience regardless of how big or small it is. For me I always find involving a team in the change makes this easier e.g. get them around a table discuss the issue and have them contribute to the solution. When teams are involved in creating the change it makes it much easier to roll out as they are not being "told" what to do.In your current situation it sounds like the team might not be fully understanding what you are trying to achieve, although this is speculation on my part. Maybe they thing you are trying to micromanage or give them extra work. It might be worth reporting back to the team to show how productivity has improved and that they are doing a great job. Also thanking them for completing the new daily work reports as that increased visibility helps you to support that team much easier and for everyone to deliver a successful project.
Hi @Joshua Robhes Thank You, I found your input to be helpful. And you are right, The team is feeling they are being told to do something and I am micromanaging them.But when you give the team the freedom to work as they like but see they are not reaching the project goal, How would you handle a situation like that?
I would first want to identify which goals are not being hit, is it timeline, budget, scope or all of them.take those issues to the team with the mindset that as a team you need to find a solution. Ask them for their input in what could be causing the problem and for potential solutions.As the leader you then need to take this information and find a way to implement it. When the suggestions for improvement come from the team they are much more likely to engage with implementing them.You might come across some people who are more challenging and themselves can be a problem on a project. I feel these people need open and honest conversations around what is up. Ultimately you are all trying to work towards the same goal and support eachother in moving forward.
Make sense, Thank You for taking the time to reply @Joshua Robhes
Agree with Joshua’s insights here! I would say step 1 is identifying, what is the core issue here. Is it a people issue (is it just one dev that is causing issues and you need to have a direct conversation about his performance), is it a process issue, or is it a systems issue. For example, could the root issue be that the requirements are not clear? Then the solve is more about changing the process of defining requirements. Is the root issue that the team is overloaded and getting sloppy with work? Then this is more about resource management and correcting their capacity.I definitely would advocate for some form of project management/work management system. Even a very simple one. I do think having them send you a report at the end of the day will inherently feel like micromanagement. But if that information is easily accessible to you within a work management system, they can more easily manage their tasks, and you can oversee without making them feel like you are hovering over them.Regardless, I agree that they need to be bought in to any change. Explaining why a change is needed, ideally in a way that shows it benefits them as well, and getting their feedback on approach. Resistance to change is common but if they see why, are clear on how it impacts them (and you adjust their capacity to account for additional administrative burden because of it), and see that it is improving their ability to get work done, they will typically convert to championing that change alongside you.
Excellent advice above. For estimation specifically, I find that it is a skill that not a lot of people are truly taught. The most accurate estimates I’ve ever gotten from my teams weren’t actually the granular ones where they thought through every step down to each minute. The best ones have been the ones where we’ve created a psychologically-safe, judgment-free environment where folks giving estimates don’t feel pressured to be optimistic, or where the estimation process is a bit more collaborative (example: planning poker).I’ve seen excellent PMs ask questions like “what could go wrong that would take us beyond that estimate?” to recognize that the chaos factor is not a reflection of somebody’s skill per se. In other words, it’s a risk management angle that helps depressurize the stigma that giving a high estimate means you’re bad at your job.