When we work on large scale projects, long term assignments or complex change initiatives – we decompose our work into smaller chunks that are more manageable. Geeks refer to this technique as “modularization”. We create a set of smaller tasks that we perform according to a schedule to achieve milestones, and hence the objective.
It all begins with great planning and then we narrow our focus to the tasks. All team members keep doing their part – and somewhere in this process, we lose the connection to the whole. People get so engrossed in tasks that they miss the big picture, and how their work contributes to the overall objective.
Have you seen situations where you meet all milestones and still not meet the desired goal? I am sure you have!
Three rituals help us overcome this:
Kickoff: Project starts with a person who understands “why” part of the work. Kickoff is an opportunity to share this learning with all team members. Unless everyone understands the purpose clearly, they will not have capacity to contribute to the whole.
Reviews: Reviews should be used as a ritual to align everyone to the goal. Most people report progress on tasks during the reviews. Let them also report on how their actions are helping the cause and what value are they adding. Review early, and review often.
Retrospectives: This is the last piece that ensures that all the learning (as a team) gets consolidated, recorded and implemented in the future assignments.
My earlier post presented ideas on creating a constantly learning organization. Learning organizations are made up of learning teams (and learning individuals) and these rituals at least ensure that teams raise their collective capacity to stay aligned to the broader goals of the work.
Join in the conversation – What methods do you employ to ensure that your team is constantly working towards achieving the goal, aligned all the time to learn, add value and improve?
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