Monday, May 4, 2009

To be a successful Lead Professional in IT Industry!

A team lead is like that spicy middle stuffy part of a sandwich where in the breads at either side get toasted to crispy and the middle part just enjoy the warmth, but the goodness of the sandwich is the taste of the middle pack. Thus in a project the overall success of the project is how better or best the lead coordinates the team and get organized the higher management. The most challenging among all hierarchy of roles in an IT workforce is middle man, the lead. So here we present a strategy of how you can best lead a project. To be a successful team lead :

 Always maintain a two column check list of all your activities to do on a note pad copy with a pen intact thats handy at all times. One column for Project related activities and the other column having program related operational, management and administration activities. Project related activities can be network issues, application issues, tasks, Follow ups, pending tasks, Short term and long term road maps.

 This copy first page should contain all important information like names of team members with cell number, names of managers and cross functional counter parts with their numbers, Global telecom number and participation or moderator ID details, national free phone numbers for teleconferencing and video conferencing, emergency contacts of IT help desk, Admin, HR, Payroll, SQA, front office and security. You being a lead need to have these numbers at your fingertip.

 Maintain rigorously your calendar and task pane in Outlook to keep all your scheduled tasks and personal tasks and follow ups. This will reduce half of your stress of remembering when to do what.

 Have a firm stand on work ethics, culture, organizational disciplinary policies, corporate level confidentiality, mailing manners, reporting structure, Daily operational planning and procedure and time discipline. Never allow either regularly irregularity or Irregularly regularity of resources.

 Ensure a continuous improvement in the team. Monitor and measure their productivity. Ensure that if a resource was taking X amount of time for a task last years should at max be spending twenty percent less time to do the same work. Introduce smart work replacing hard work. Thus you give a twenty percent more margin to the business with the same work force and thus same Investment yields 20% more return on investment.

 Have a detailed meeting tracker maintained from the back side of your handy note copy. For all meetings you attend take notes of discussion headlines, action items and key takeaways. Every meeting you documented should have a header ( meeting name, attended by, date ).

 Keep record of who working on what in your team members. Maintain this probably from pages right to the centre of your handy note copy. Maintain your data in columns like Resource name, Working on , Planned scheduled, Actual forecast, Deviation, Load. One example is Prakash, Server side scripting for MM01, 19th Apr, 21st Apr, 2 days due to waiting time, 5/8 hours. This means Prakash is working on Server side scripting on MM01 scheduled for 19th but will finish by 21st with a 2 days delay and he is loaded for 5 hours out of 8 hours a day.

 Have a fair techno functional understanding of the assignments and tasks that your team members are doing so that you can coordinate and mentor them better. This also helps in linking every individuals tasks to frame your complete image of the overall progress. Thus your can predict whether the project cloud is heading towards the right direction or not.

 In the same way have a sound working knowledge of the operational, planning, budgeting, strategic, managerial and administration tasks that your manager doing so that you can adequately assist him at his crunch stress times and thus push him from behind to progress ahead while pulling the team from front to march ahead.

 Maintain a clear transparency among all stake holders. Ensure that all communications must be marked to designated recipients with CCing to all casual audiences. Any communications or conversions going into bitter flavor immediately stop the chain mail and invite all to a discussion or discussion telecom over global bridge and immediately resolve the issue by negotiating and hosting the discussion.

 Monitor all the official interactions and communications of your team to outside the team. Guide them to maintain a descent and fruitful flavored manner of communication. Always Protect your team members from any incoming threats from out of the team by shielding them. In case of any mistake your team members have done, officially confess the same as a team and not blame any individual for this. Then internally do a root cause analysis and take corrective and preventive measures.

 For an improved secondary management providing ample scope for the senior resources of team in tailoring their career path in a long term down the line, internally cluster the team in small partially operational independent segments based on Business wings and headers with equal distribution of senior and junior resources and designate the senior most of that cluster as the cluster focal. Although to the higher management you are the lead internally these cluster focals will be shouldering your activities in still lower level.

 Identify all the major periodic activities and deliverables in your territory, delegate and distribute them among all these cluster focals as they are the senior most resources of your tram.

 Make a periodic schedule of boosting the team moral with appreciations and gratitude. Ensure this not spark others ego. Identify high spirit, motivated, most energetic resources in your team, give them extra challenges like maintaining QA, internal Reviews, Mentoring the new joinees, Cross functional knowledge management activities.

 Occasionally arrange team events, distribute T shirts with Team Logo or motto, outings, lunch or dinner sessions or even short trips. This events boosts and recharges the teams and sparks their energy level thus optimizing productivity.

 Always look out and reach out for all issues, grievances, complains and any behind the wall gossips. Anything being cooked behind try to resolve them immediately and strictly never allow such things in your territory. Assure a neat and clean environment for all resources. No demarcation in terms of religion, castes, native or language difference should be accepted.

 Rotate tasks and assignments regularly among your clusters or even swapping of resources across your clusters. Thus you can maintain knowledge base multiplied with introducing work flavor across resources and making them diversified in handling assignments.

 Have a Buddy concept for all new joinees. A new joinee induction kit presentation file along with a primary buddy for any new joinee will reduce your build up time and thus will ensure any new joinee productive soonest as possible.

 Listen to every one, Invite and appreciate new new ideas from team, consider their recommendations that has business values and scope. Identify out of boundary scopes and business expansion opportunities and work out with your manager to spread into those areas by expanding your team.

 Identify noise in the project. Noise refers to any or all activities or individuals that impact your productivity. Correct them immediately. Apply your intelligence to deal with them as situational. If its controllable then all fine else gently escalate it to higher management and softly get it corrected.

 Monitor the overall team image from the birds eye view. Boost the team for cross organizational and corporate level activities and initiatives. Project them to onshore platforms, provoke them to file patrons, write white papers, associate with world technical forums and blogs or groups, increase human networking.

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