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Keeping a team on track throughout a project can be challenging. When you have thousands of tasks to complete, additional changes being added and roadblocks that need to be overcome it is easy for team members to become siloed and focused on their work. Even when having daily standups and regular meetings to discuss what work needs to be done, you can miss the real priorities that ensure the project keeps moving without bottlenecks.
This is what makes the team playbook Prioritize, as a Team so relevant and something you should consider using with your team on a regular basis. Let me provide an example of how we recently used this playbook to help our team focus on the most relevant work and priorities.
We recently completed a major milestone on one of our projects. This caused a flurry of change requests to be submitted and a large number where approved. We had other milestones and deadlines that we needed to keep a focus on. Some teams began focusing on change work since it had been approved at a higher priority. We began experiencing delays due to dependencies that were not being completed. In order to ensure the proper work was being completed we pulled the team together for an hour to review our milestones, team responsibilities, change work, and any additional work that had been added. This is where the team playbook was used.
Prior to the meeting we pulled a report from Jira of our milestones and the dependent work associated to complete each one. We sent out the invite and asked everyone to review the project goals.
At the meeting we took about twenty minutes to review the milestones and dependencies. We ensured that nothing was missing from the list and gathered other items that needed focus at this time according to each team.
We then asked them to categorize the tasks by team responsibilities this took about ten minutes. After everything had been prioritized into team responsibilities we asked each team to prioritize their tasks. It did not take long for the teams to prioritize what they were responsible for. We then had each team share their priorities with the larger group so we could discuss and make adjustments due to dependencies.
After prioritizing the work we reviewed delivery dates and made necessary adjustments to ensure that high priority milestones could be delivered on time. Some changes and work was deferred and will be revisited later in the project. All of the adjustment to due dates and priorities were recorded. We then we reviewed these changes as a large group to ensure that nothing was missed.
We made sure everyone was comfortable with the changes and that there were no major concerns that needed to be addressed. Meeting notes were compiled and sent out to the teams so they could review the changes once more. We provided a day for teams to review one additional time before updating the project plan.
This activity allows everyone to get on the same page and ensure that each team’s goals and priorities align with the projects. I would encourage everyone to take a look at this team playbook and consider using it or some variation to help your team focus on the priorities that will help your project be successful.