Use team-based tools for planning, monitoring, idea generation, decision making, and conflict resolution so that the team can make good decisions and reach consensus quickly.

Team-based tools allow the entire team to participate in the process at hand, whether that involves planning, decision making, idea generation, or conflict resolution. They provide a structured way for everyone on the team to contribute and make decisions by consensus. Consensus does not mean that each person gets his or her first choice. What it does mean is that everyone agrees that they can live with the decision that has been made. It doesn't mean that everyone necessarily agrees with the decision.

You can tell if you have consensus by simply asking. Go around the room and ask each person if he can live with the decision that has been reached. If someone says, no, then ask that person what would be required in order for the decision to be acceptable. See if a compromise can be reached that everyone can agree to. Sometimes you can't reach consensus. Sometimes you'll need to make the call and dictate the decision. It's best to reserve this option when consensus is not possible.

Using team-based tools will help the group reach consensus with minimal conflicts. The tools you'll be learning for managing projects are team-based tools. They

^ Encourage participation by team members.

^ Encourage everyone to contribute.

^ Are structured so that there is a systematic way of working through the steps of the tool.

^ Lead to consensus.

Team-based tools should incorporate all three sensory learning styles—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Sensory learning styles are the ways in which individuals take in and process information.

Visual learners need to see what is going on. They take in information through visual means—written documents, flip charts, overheads. Team-based tools should make visible everyone's inputs, ideas, and comments. This is typically done by working with self-stick notes on flip-chart or banner paper taped to the wall. In this way everyone sees the same set of information.

Auditory learners learn by hearing and talking. They need to be involved in a discussion in order to fully comprehend the issue at hand. When a decision is reached, it is important to restate the decision verbally and ask for verbal agreement from team members. Team-based tools should include a vehicle for discussing the ideas or issues being worked on.

Kinesthetic learners learn best while doing or sensing. They need to get the feel for the ideas or issues and they do this best while physically moving around. Team-based tools should incorporate movement in the exercises, where team members move self-stick notes from one place to another, physically organizing the ideas being worked on.

The team-based project management tools we'll be covering in this book cover all three sensory learning styles. They involve visual information that is recorded on flip-chart and banner paper, discussion, and then physical involvement by team members. By using these tools, you'll ensure that everyone on the team is engaged in the process and is taking in and understanding the information being presented. We'll discuss decision-making tools more extensively in Chapter 11.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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