Embracing the constant evolution of your industry is important and if you are in a time management position (i.e.: traffic manager, project manager, production manager, etc.), it is critical to hold regularly, scheduled check-in meetings with your team. This allows you to keep a pulse on how the current process is working and identify if a change needs to be made. Here are 3 ways to keep your team out of the stone ages.
1. Review and Revise Processes and Documentation
Incorporating a consistent schedule of reviewing current processes and documentation is not always done, but it should be! More times than not, it is easy to find yourself in a consistent rotation of meetings (both internal and client), managing production work and producing deliverables to clients. Then one day, you and your team encounter a disruption to your system. This can come in the form of a new hire who expresses alternative solutions, a new company initiative from management or dissatisfaction from a client. This moment that can make or break your team depending on how you tackle these challenges.
In the beginning of my role as Traffic Manager, I held daily scrums—an agile way to manage projects, which can be used to scale the daily stand-up meeting when multiple teams are involved. The purpose is to support agile teams in collaborating and coordinating their work with other teams. I assumed that because I had read that successful production teams did this, it is something I needed to do. What I didn’t account for is that there are multiple steps that go into hold a productive scum and these were steps that I was missing.
Instead of taking into the account what my team needed, I was applying a function out of want. Then, we hired more production team members. After a couple weeks of not making much head way, one of our newest hires came to me and asked, “what am I supposed to be getting out of these meetings?” I was confused because I felt like it was pretty self-explanatory. What I realized was that no one else had mentioned not finding them beneficial. To rectify this, I held a retrospective meeting to gather the teams feedback and gauge how everyone else felt.
2. Empower Your Team to Speak Up
I was shocked to learn that there were multiple points of frustration because I assumed that in addition to our scrums, our current processes and procedures that we have always done were fine. No one really complained and we were still meeting deadlines. What I didn’t realize is that as the industry/technology was growing, my production management was not. So, I stopped holding the scrums. Instead, I asked the project managers and production team members what they really needed and worked with them to make changes that they found helpful to them.
It is important that your team feel like their voices are being heard on how improvements can be made. Empowering your team to be a part of the solution, rather than just dictate to them what the process should be, will create an environment where the team knows their time and voices are valued. It will also provide a foundation of respect and trust within the team, which is one of the most important aspects of working on a team.
3. Maximize Efficiency
From a business prospective, you want to make sure all your employees are being as efficient as possible in regard to time and costs. If you never change with the speed of your industry, the time (and cost) to realign can be much more than what is willing to be spent.
As the Traffic Manager at WSOL, the top three areas of my responsibility are: 1) to make sure that work is available, 2) the available work is resourced for the Production Team and 3) that the work is billable. While growing in this role, I’ve learned that the most important resources to do my job the best are the people creating the magic. They are the ones who have the knowledge and expertise to make the clients and the business most successful.
We all know that there is a cost of running teams, growing their careers within the company and making sure to provide any opportunity to help them grow as a subject matter expert in their respective fields. You have to spend money to make money. We invest in our teams, knowing that as their knowledge grows so does our business. It allows us to take on projects that not all web agencies can, to provide alternate solutions to help our clients and strengthen our partnerships across the board.
As I’ve evolved in my position at WSOL, I’ve learned that while I know growth is inevitable, it is not always something that is forefront but needs to be. By simply reviewing and revising processes and documentation, empowering teams to speak up and maximizing efficiency, our teams have become more effective. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced with your team and how have you solved them? Let us know!