I have worked with many good leaders. Most work very hard, but sometimes it seems like they are in a vaudeville act spinning lots of plates on sticks. They rush from plate to plate keeping some spinning while others come crashing to the ground. They may be well respected in their organization or industry, but they feel stressed and are often overwhelmed.
Exceptional leaders stand out from their plate spinning peers. They have more impact with much less visible effort. They tend to lead highly energetic and talented organizations. What’s different? These leaders have cultivated a fundamentally different mindset that changes their whole approach to work.
Project teams should build smart, aggressive plans that enable them to make commitments to their management and ultimately their customers. A smart plan is one that is well thought out to provide the quickest, high-value option possible. The “quickest” refers to the design approach. Being quick should always be paired with commitments the team can keep, or even exceed.
I have found over and over again teams build plans and deliver results based on the questions that leaders ask. Building smart plans quickly with low effort requires leadership to ask the questions that drive the kind of results you want. In other words, this book of questions was created to set and reinforce expectations of excellence in the teams that build your products.
The questions are overlapping on purpose. Vary the questions and keep your teams thinking. For any project plan review, please add your own situational awareness and judgment and customize/eliminate questions for your situation.
The control-freak, the narcissist, the slacker, the cynic…Difficult people are the worst part of a manager’s job. What sets great managers apart is the ability to turn these problem personalities into productive team players.
This problem of speed is often disguised by other symptoms, such as “my projects cannot make an accurate prediction of when they will be done” or the stated need of “my teams need to take more risks.” The real need is not reckless risk-taking that will lead to even more problems and finishing even later. The real need is for speed.