In a previous article I talked about Trevor who had an issue with his writing skills (click here for more information).
Quite often, project managers tell us that they have a project team with team members from another division of the company. Or maybe they have a team member who they have little or no knowledge of. Or maybe “you do know” the people who are your team members. Note the words you do know are in quotations and italics. The reason for this is to challenge just how well you do know them!
I often use the metaphor of a sports coach who has many tasks. Chief among them is to analyse and check on a person’s skills. They spend much time really going into detail; using video evidence and statistics to show the person what they are doing and what they want them to do. Hours and hours of time is put into developing an individual for what might be that one split moment when the skill or attribute can be used to winning effect.
• If you are a project manager, how much time do you spend analysing the skills of your team?
• If you are a team member how much time is spent developing your skills?
• If you are a project sponsor do you check that the project manager is analysing and developing the team?
Lots of questions, questions that need to be answered in order to deliver those key organisational projects.
Clearly, you may be able to assess needs through your performance management system however feedback to us suggests that while some of this information is useful, training needs identified do not always reflect the reality (something I do not intend to address here!)
So how do you identify development needs of your project team members? I suggest using a simple grid system. Across the top are the names of your team members. Down the left hand side column are the skills you have identified. Check each person against the skills identified. After you have done this speak to each staff member to check your findings and monitor that you are correct.
Once you have established there are some development needs how do you meet them? This is a tricky one to answer in a brief article like this however please do not think that formal training (classroom based) is the only answer. Nor do you need to spend money you do not have. You will need to ensure sufficient time is spent developing an individual or individuals.
Why not try coaching the person or asking them to read an article? Observing is a tried and tested technique provided it is supported by a debrief and a review of how this could be applied back in the workplace. Trial runs and maybe deputising for someone on the project are also useful techniques. Why not review a critical incident or use an e-learning course? These are all valid provided it suits the person’s learning style.
The emphasis in this article is to ensure you have a strong project team which will deliver what you want it to deliver. This is part of our skill series in project management. Why not click here to find out more