As a team leader or project manager you will have resources assigned to you as direct reports or as project team members. In either situation you will be responsible for assigning work and managing allocation. Depending on the size of your team this can get to be somewhat of an unwieldly task and if not managed effectively can spin out of control quickly. Here are some tips on doing proper resource management.
Know Your People
A good leader will have a pretty good bead on each of their team members. Knowing their resumes and skill sets is just the start of it. You as a leader need to know what drives your team members, what makes them want to sink their teeth into a task and over-deliver. Are they a nine-to-fiver or are they going to stay until they feel they should go home? Do you have to push them to deliver or do you need to tell them to go home at 9 pm? Will your people take on tasks that don’t match their skillsets or are they honed in specifically on what they are trained on? These are all key elements that you need to know about each of your team members that will help drive what type of work assignments you will give them but also how much oversight you will need to commit to giving their work as well.
Know Your Work
Knowing the work ahead of you is critical for a leader. You need to feel confident that you understand the scope of work that your team is responsible for delivering. For a project manager or a functional manager the task is the same – know what you’re needed to produce to your stakeholders. By understanding the intricacies of what you need to deliver it will help establish your plan of attack and therefore feed into how you want to assign the work to your team. Do you want to have a technical lead responsible for developing and assigning work packages? Do you want to have separate streams of work executed by factions of your team? Perhaps there are some pieces of work that require client interaction that may be better suited to some team members than others. Does the work line up with skill sets? (and if it doesn’t that’s not always a bad thing to push team members to get outside of their comfort zone).
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
As with anything to do with leading a team, communication is vital. Having small but constant check-ins with your team is a great way to get a temperature read on not only how the work is progressing but also how your team members are doing with the assigned work. Are they thriving? Are they struggling? How is their stress level? How is their frustration level? These are all very important things for a leader to know so that you can work with your team members to remove roadblocks and get them into a good place to be able to deliver effectively.
Managing a team in either a functional or matrix environment is a challenging task. When done properly, it is one of the building blocks to constructing a high performing team and will drive empowerment throughout your team members.