I recently reading an interesting article about the challenges that students on MBA courses face when they kick off projects. The key points were the challenges of focus, delegation and shirking. I know from previous and current work as a business school lecturer that designating a facilitator or leader to coordinate makes a significant difference in the project success.
These challenges can be minimised with a clear and focused kick off meeting. Below are some questions that the MBA project facilitator (normally a designated team member) should ask at the start of the project.
MBA project facilitator questions
What does success look like for the group and people in it?
Consider do people want to stretch and learn new skills i.e. a marketer take on the finance tasks of the projects or do they just want to “survive” and get through the project in the least painful way possible.
Consider if the team are there to learn, to win or to survive. The different levels of effort will mean a great deal over the course of the project.
What level of quality outputs are required?
Consider how refined the outputs such as documents, presentations, videos etc should be.
With a delivery date of X what are the key steps / outputs required to hit the target?
Ideally, look to work backwards and create a time line of things that need to be done.
What does an effective division of labour look like for the team over the course of the project?
Understanding availability and who can do what and when is crucial so that no surprises come later.
When does the team come together to review progress?
Setting milestones and having project review meetings ensures that commitment is obtained and the task stays on track. It also stops nasty surprises.
How do we deal with people dropping behind on their designated tasks?It is better to ask about this upfront so that when it happens, because it will, the team members are in a better place to deal with it.
How will we celebrate project delivery success?
Setting up a positive expectation about getting the project wrapped up creates motivation. Whether it be a team meal or a couple of drinks, some form of simple celebration helps drive towards completion.
MBA project facilitation – Leadership reflections
How can you adapt these questions to your daily work?
What other questions, for what you do, do you need to ask yourself and team to ensure project success?
Thanks once again for reading!
I am really keen to know if this worked for you.
Please let me know if I missed any essential questions!
Cheers, Andi Roberts
[Image Credit: Sxc.hu Author Alan Schmidt]