Meeting deadlines is the highest priority for every project manager, particularly given the fact that business revenues and reputation are at stake. When deadlines are the norm, there is no room for procrastination or lousy performance. Procrastination within a team is one of the main culprits that kills productivity and keeps project managers from meeting deadlines. All too often, managers feel that procrastination is intentional; which is often not the case. Procrastination can occur for many reasons, ranging from perfectionism to a lack of clear focus. As they say:
“To learn, you must unlearn first.”
You have to let go the fact that procrastination is always intentional. To help you reduce procrastination in your project teams, we present you these essential tips. Take a look.
Reduce Constant Interruptions
Distractions are annoying, especially when you have to meet deadlines on a large project. If your team members are bombarded with ad hoc requirements or emails all the time, getting off track is no surprise. Sometimes, the workload is too much and your team members end up procrastinating; leading to loss of productive hours.
To avoid such situations, you can simply set task priorities using a reliable schedule for your team to follow during their typical workday. Apart from that, you must also encourage them to dedicate short time blocks to read emails, rather than doing it every now and then. Once these interruptions decrease, your team members can focus on the task at hand, causing a boost in their productivity and morale.
Focus on Task Allocation
The way you allocate tasks to your team can bridge the gap between procrastination and productivity. If you are simply creating tasks and assigning them to your team members, you are committing a rookie mistake. Most of the time, the task can appear intimidating to the members, causing them to struggle and make no progress at all. Rather than assigning mammoth tasks, create subtasks for your team and assign them depending on their strengths.
The idea behind interest based allocation is simple. The more your members like their work, the less likely are the chances to procrastinate. Once they complete these mini deliverables, congratulate them for achieving the milestones. Doing so creates a sense of accomplishment in individuals, which goes a long way in eliminating procrastination and enhancing efficiency.
Conduct Progress Meetings
Although it goes without saying, you must conduct regular progress meetings to track the project developments. There is no ideal frequency, however, you can start with a weekly or semiweekly meetup. Progress meeting can be conducted with the entire project team under one roof, but one on one interactions can deliver better results. The reason: some members may feel hesitant in speaking out in team meetings and are more comfortable with one to one interactions.
Individual interactions also give an opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the members, thereby allowing you to make necessary improvements. While conducting a progress meeting; always discuss upcoming deadlines, review ongoing tasks, listen to any concerns and exchange feedback. When members are heard and get constructive feedback, as this can cause a dramatic increase in their morale; which minimizes procrastination.
Encourage Joint Accountability
Accountability is a crucial factor when it comes to tracking individual performance. Holding a single person accountable for a task can push them on the back foot, causing them to procrastinate for the fear of judgement. Joint accountability, on the other hand, can help peers to motivate each other and perform better without having to worry about being answerable. This concept works on the lines of “peer pressure,” which is a good-to-have element in project management, unlike general perception.
You should, therefore, try to designate multiple people for a task to ensure they motivate each other during slack periods. For doing so, your workflows must be clearly defined. To get started, you can use a project management tool.
Acknowledge Individual Efforts
No matter what your business model is, people expect acknowledgement and appreciation for their work. You can say that acknowledgement is directly proportional to the motivation levels of your team members. In other words, the team members are most likely to deliver 100 percent efforts in exchange of appreciation. For that to happen, you can start with a pat on their back. Going further, you can introduce a rewards or incentive program to felicitate individual members for their contribution to the project.
Take time to explain a team member that they are one of the superheroes for the project and see the difference in their productivity.
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