1. Building Trust Within Your Team
is an important aspect of every team. It is frequently talked and written about,
but rarely seen in action when it comes to running a project. The importance of
trust in the project management process has even been recognized by a variety
of different Project Management organizations.
The International Project
Management Association has recently included sections covering trust in their
ICB4 certification that is the global
standard for individual competencies in project, programme and portfolio management.
Similarly, Scrum's Three Pillars of Empiricism
have long been based on the idea that trust is one of the three most important
factors to uphold the empirical project control. The same trend of building trust
is present in LEAN and other traditional project management methodologies. If
this has been such a pressing topic for so long, what are the main blockers preventing
PMs from establishing real trust within their teams?
One of the most recurring
answers to this question is "blame culture." A key in achieving trust culture
is migrating away from this culture and instead shifting every mistake to a learning
opportunity. In order to make this a reality, PMs should facilitate the right
environment of transparency and comfort within their teams, since most people
perform much better in the environment where team members are able to express
themselves and make mistakes.
A Top PM teaches their team these principles
by example by living alongside them, encouraging to share their mistakes, and
turning them into examples for learning. Top PMs realize that showing humility
and vulnerability is a sign of strength. Especially when it comes to admitting
to your own mistakes, it's often true that people tend to become defensive or
shift blame. Explaining that you made a mistake, and why, can make you feel vulnerable.
However, if you openly admit and analyze these mistakes, this habit will help
others to avoid it in the future. That will help everyone to build trust and open
up about their slip-ups.
For example if you overpromise a key stakeholder
to finish a milestone earlier than is possible, essentially because of your lack
of technical depth in that subject, it would be ok to admit your mistake to your
team. Letting them know you misestimated things rather than blaming them for not
delivering the technology as fast as you wanted would create a more positive atmosphere.
This can inspire others to open up and build stronger connections with you and
Understand your team members: their capabilities, fears, frustrations,
what they like or don't like, and how they interact with other people. When team
members feel that they are valued, they will deliver value more easily. Find ways
to motivate your team with the task at hand instead of forcefully pushing them
towards your objectives. To do so, clearly outline what success looks like for
the project and project team roles and responsibilities, but then let them be
experts in their fields.
Expect your team members to tell you what needs to be
done. Listen to them, decentralize decision making to empower your team, but be
prepared for making hard decisions when necessary. After all, your team is there
for you to engage with. Too many PMs make mistakes of diving straight into writing
tasks and taking too much of that responsibility to themselves. This sometimes
happens due to the lack of trust and understanding within those teams. When you
have your team's trust make sure they get involved in scoping out work, writing
users stories and in general giving you advice on the matters they feel are important.
realize that their team is their best asset, and will take each opportunity to
build strong relationships with them. Be negotiator and facilitator, but before
everything, be one with the team. They need to feel as though you are working
with them and not for someone above. This is a precursor to some of the more technical
tips in this article, as, without this trust, your project will likely run into
a series of problems.
Key Takeaway: "It's ok to show that
everyone makes mistakes. Share your mistakes when you make them, show your team
you are on their side, and make trust within your team a priority."
2. See: https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/three-pillars-empiricism-scrum