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Trello – A new way for managing team activities

On my latest project, I got introduced to a new piece of software. It’s called Trello. It’s a rather simple simple, but it lets you quickly setup tasks into columns. Then you can quickly drag and drop the tasks for column to column. The beauty of it is that multiple can all move the task around. It keeps a record of everything that anyone did to the task. The way we are using it on this project is to track tasks that are open, in progress, on-hold or completed. This particular project has a large amount of master data that needs to be loaded. Since I’m the team lead, I needed an easy way to monitor what was being done and by whom. I highly recommend Trello.
Anyway, this one is just a quick post, but hopefully still useful.
Thanks for reading,

Being a Team Lead – Remembering the Basics

I’ve been spoiled for the past several years.  I’ve been listed as the team lead, but I’ve been a team of 1.  that means I haven’t had to worry about delegating work, consolidating status reports, managing work loads etc…

I just started a new contract position, and this time around, I’m managing a team of 3 consultants, and trying to keep the client on track with their information gathering. The biggest issue I encountered, and quite honestly forgot about, is when you have to lead personalities that aren’t happy you’re there.  Since I just experienced this again, I thought I’d pass on the quick lessons I had to learn the hard way…

1.  Take many conversations away from the group.  Often when you come into a new project, you have ideas, want to make changes, or just want to prove yourself.  Well, personally, I have this tendency.  What forgot, when you challenge someone that has been there for a while, they feel pretty invested/protective of their design.  the last thing they want to hear is that you disagree with it, or want to make changes.  It doesn’t matter if it’s as simple as changing the naming convention, the people that have been there believe in their design.

2.  Be open to the old design.   Start every conversation with a “gentle” question.  “Can you help me understand this better?”  “the design seems solid, but can you tell me why you did this instead of that?”  anything like that.  It’s the whole idea of making friends with the person, let them know you value their opinions.  then explain…  “I’ve seen it done differently in past projects, can you explain why you’re doing it this way?”…  always act like you’re a little behind the times.  This makes the person a lot more open to hearing your suggestions.

3.  Remember, not everyone is going to be your best friend, but you still need to make sure they at least respect you.  Remember, this doesn’t mean they fear you…  it means they understand everyone wants the best for the client.  So make sure you can show that you know what you’re talking about without sounding arrogant.  You are in charge afterall.  But don’t ram this point down anyone’s throat.  Remember to lead by example.  Do…  Don’t just Talk…

I can say the transition has been much easier because I’ve had great upper management support.  So as a side note, make a good impression with your leadership.  Be direct, be authoritative, and be confident.  But don’t BS anyone.  If you don’t know, say as much, and say that you will find out…  THEN go find out.

I’m sure I’ll have more hints coming up… as I relearn them again…