Project Leadership

Being the leader of a project can take a lot of flexibility. Growing a team’s maturity can take patience and persistence. Urging a team to be their best can take a little pressure. A project leader in the iPaaS realm needs to employ all of these tactics to build a successful team. Team Maturity An immature team, or a team with less experience, takes a different style of leadership than a mature team, who will be more knowledgeable. A leader who knows the difference between the two types of teams, and how to be flexible with their leadership style, will be able to make the best of both team maturity levels. When dealing with an immature team you have to give more direction. Step by step instructions might be necessary for these fresh faced employees.

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Putting the time and effort into these teams will ensure, however, that later you will have a self-sufficient team needing less guidance. The self-organizing, mature team allows the project leader to be a mentor and focus on growing the individuals in the team professionally. With the mature team, the project leader can act as a fly on the wall. Observe but do not interfere with these seasoned members.

What to Expect out of your Team Your team should be challenged. They should feel some pressure to deliver their best work and meet deadlines. They shouldn’t, however, feel constant and unbearable pressure, as if they are stranded on an island. Finding that balance isn’t always easy, but as a leader, checking in on their work load is important. This will also earn you better results in projects. Keep your expectations at an achievable level, but by no means set the bar too low. You want your team to be able to meet goals and objectives while being challenged to do so.

Sowing the Seeds Give team members the ability to volunteer. This ensures they are interested in the part of the project they will be contributing. This also means less need for pressure from you because they will be engaged and accountable. Allowing your team opportunities to brainstorm and be creative will also increase the team's accountability and level of individual contribution. Take some time to do individual mentoring. Although 1 on 1’s can be difficult to make time for, they are immense benefits. Talk about the personal and professional goals you team members have in mind for themselves. How can you make these align with the goals you have set for them?

The iPaaS+ Difference Our teams are focused on the customer and our project leaders help align the questions they ask to solve problems with the perspective of the client. Our project leaders ask the hard questions and take a different approach to answering them. They try to help their teams free their minds to new possibilities and creative solutions.  

The Proverbial Backburner

THE  BUSINESS IDEAS THAT MAY NEVER GET DONE The backburner in and of itself is not a bad thing if it is intentionally created to capture all the good ideas flowing from a team of thinking and innovative individuals.  But how do you move from vision to reality?  Inertia and the status quo are often the most frequent barriers to decision making.  How do you increase velocity and get to status “done?” Using tools like voice memos, Pinterest and Evernote can help you capture and retain the lightbulbs that go off during meetings, in the shower or on long drives into the city.  If you record your idea at its inception, you can let it simmer on the backburner, let it become a reduction sauce of all the best ideas floating inside your head while you regularly sift out the less viable or utterly ridiculous ideas you came up with like marketing an international symbol for, “Hey, Buddy, your right blinker is still on after 3 miles.” Backburner projects can be, like building integrations for your software company

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—things that are not perceived as actionable right now but could be someday in the future. Maybe it is an idea for adding value for a pivotal client account to increase your stickiness, but for which there is no budget yet. Or maybe it is something you intend to do in a particular project at an unforeseen time in the future. One of the greatest challenges for an idea guy or gal is overcoming the “it will never work” mentality found in just about every organization.  New ideas and good recycled ones, get ignored and dismissed -put on the backburner. Why? Well, often it is a matter of ego if the idea isn’t the brainchild of the executive’s inner sanctum it may not be given merit or be properly funded. How do you take something from the backburner and inch it forward to completion?  How do you get the resources allocated and the attention to change the perception of a backburner idea into a requirement for doing business? There are three very specific steps to take which will catapult your idea into a profitable and noticeable company darling.  Follow these steps and you will be your company’s hero. 1.        Make it a Project Any good idea is actually a project; a project with a concrete plan and defined tasks will garner the credibility a good idea needs to be fueled with the resources you need.  If you come to the table with just an idea, it won’t get done.  Why?  Maybe the idea falls outside of your traditional purview of the business so you’re thinking elevating awareness seems like the sensible contribution on your behalf. However, if you want the idea to have real teeth, you need to do one of two things.   Either give the idea away to someone else that can claim its ownership from the beginning, (this is not a bad idea if you are already the king or queen of amazing accomplishments and have 10 or 20 more great ideas you are managing right now).  Or, prepare a project plan. (See our project template to get you started on presenting your Golden Goose at the next team meeting). 2.    Quantify in dollars why your idea is a great one Money talks.  Get creative at quantifying the results in terms of indirect or incremental revenue or cash flow.  Will you keep more customers longer? Will every customer ultimately spend more? Are you increasing efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, market perception?  What do those things equate to in terms of dollars made or saved? 3.    Make it something your company cannot afford not to do Prepare the worst case scenarios and stories of a world without your idea.  How many employees will leave to work for companies that take the next step? How many customers will defect to competitors that offer this ability?  How many dollars will your company lose each day you wait to get started?  Now multiply to see the dollars over a month, quarter, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years.  Can your company truly afford to risk not to respond and allocate the required resources?  Make sure the answer is a loud and confident no, to get to your executive team’s YES. Steve Cody, a weekly columnist for INC.com, wrote about the backburner precept back in 2008 on his blog RepMan.  In his observation, companies like Smith-Corona, PanAm, and the auto manufacturers out of Detroit all suffered from what he called the ossified thinking that kills businesses.  The best, most successful organizations encourage and challenge their employees to be innovative in their thinking.  Consider a company like Virgin Airlines that was imagined to go beyond an ordinary passenger transportation company, while other airlines withered and died on the vine. Change how you think about those backburner ideas, and change how your company and your customers do business. It might just be the key differentiator from the competition to close more deals, generate more business, and gain more marketshare. Happy thinking and happy selling! [button size='' style='' text='Learn More' icon='' icon_color='' link='http://info.ryvit.com/backburner_lp' target='_self' color='' hover_color='' border_color='' hover_border_color='' background_color='' hover_background_color='' font_style='' font_weight='' text_align='' margin='']

The Tech Review all CEOs should do

Whether you are the vision creator of a startup or leading the charge of an established corporation, technology is changing and with that, your business practices around technology might need a refresh. Leaving all of your company’s tech-related decisions up to the CIO or CTO isn’t enough anymore. Creating a strategy around technology is essential to define your company’s path forward so as the CEO, get involved. To make sure you are starting in the right place and heading in the right directions, take a look at these 5 areas of your technology.

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  1. Your current strategy

That is the place to start. If you don’t have an expressed strategy yet, take a general survey of what tech updates have been made recently and the impression of where your company was headed with technology. If you do have a strategy currently, gain an understanding of what department heads and employees need from their technology and where the current strategy is falling short. Making sure your strategy is well-defined will create fewer technology distractions as you move forward.

  1. New Projects

As a CEO, how do you want to approach new technology projects in the coming years? Different tech issues can be solved by a number of existing solutions or by custom-coded solutions. Each has their benefits and drawbacks, but as the CEO it is up to you to decide which way your company will head. Make a decision and be consistent. Take into account the opinions of subject matter experts at your disposal. Many projects in the coming years will be shaped by this decision.

  1. Efficiency

Isn’t efficiency why we invest in technology? Your technology should be helping your employees make the most of their time each day. Take a look at efficiency in your data centers, support centers, and IT systems. You want all of these systems to be as efficient as possible to increase profitability. If your employees are not selling and working in the most efficient way, your tech strategy needs to encompass changes that will help them do so.

  1. Consider your customers

If your customers don’t have the tools they need, work this into your technology strategy to stay competitive. Create a survey and listen to your customers’ feedback about your technology. What preferences do they have in communications they receive from your company? Is your website meeting their needs? What’s not easily accessible? They drive your business so they should be considered in key technology decisions. Building a great customer experience is worth the investment.

  1. The right team

During this process, you will need to have the right team in place to help you understand your current state and what changes are needed. Make sure this goes beyond senior management. When you have this team, set parameters to communicate what can and what cannot be done when it comes to your technology assets. Communicate your company’s risk profile to these individuals. This will allow your team to make the right decisions for your organization.