Five Questions Every Team Must Answer and a Tool to Help

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Don’t stumble all over each other! Figure out who’s doing what & to what degree they’re doing it.

Five Key Questions for Any Project Team

Whenever a group of people get together to get something done, there are five role-related questions that should be asked immediately to focus their efforts and avoid wasting anyone’s time:

1. Who’s participating (helping) to get the job done?

2. Who’s ultimately accountable for this? (i.e., Whose job is it to make certain that the work is completed?)

3. Who’s reviewing the work to help make sure it meets technical, market, or other specifications?

4. Who’s providing unique input or expertise at critical points in the project?

5. Who will be signing off on the intermediate and finished products to certify that the deliverables have been satisfactorily completed? (i.e., Who can tell us when we’re finally, officially finished?)

Answering these questions should be a collaborative effort involving the entire team. That’s because drawing lines of accountability and responsibility requires surgical precision and a shared knowledge of the team’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the organization’s formal and informal chain of command, power structures, available resources, etc.

Without these clear role definitions, the project could lurch along contentiously, miss deadlines, create the wrong (or poor quality) deliverables and burn through time, money, and organizational good will. So it’s well worth the time, right up front, to engage these issues as a team. But this can be a complicated set of conversations! So where do you begin?

A Tool to Guide Your Discussion

The table below can serve as a framework for your discussion to help you get started. It includes some generic project roles (project leader/manager, core team members, sponsor/customer, stakeholders) and some generic project steps, represented by the PM Minimalist’s 10 Steps. It’s up to you to decide if the assignments identified here (i.e., “A” for accountable, “I” for input required, etc.) translate to your project and organization. Like all the Project Management Minimalist tools, it’s designed to be a springboard to help you “hit the ground running!” You’re expected to add, delete and change it to make it your own. Enjoy!

Download PDF: table of Suggested Participants/Roles in Discussion & Planning Sessions

NOTE:  This tool is based on the PM Minimalist’s 10 Steps. It appears exactly as shown in The PM Minimalist Mentor: Scripted Coaching Tools to Guide Your Project TeamTo learn more Minimalist techniques for organizing your team, see “Step 2: Get your team together and start the project” in The Project Management Minimalist: Just Enough PM to Rock Your Projects! … And check out the entire PM Minimalist Support System and Freebies collection for plenty of free stuff, including videos, audios, PDFs and more!

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