Know Your Normal

When you start a project, it is useful to understand what is “normal” early on. It may be normal for one team member to feel pressure to get work done at the beginning of the week, but then to always claim overtime at the end of each week because they didn’t plan for the predictably urgent work that would come up. It may be normal for another team member to start late on their tasks because they don’t feel the urgency. They may do amazing work, and they always deliver just in time.  

As a project leader, knowing your team’s routine will help you plan for the work. In the example above, you are better off planning new work at the beginning of the week for the first team member. For the second team member, stage reviews should happen at the end of each stage to capture the best picture of the value delivered. 

Why Knowing the Normal Is Important

There are two strategic reasons for knowing what is normal for your team:

  1. You can honour and plan for the way your team works. By knowing each team member, you can help them be the best contributor by planning how they work best.
  2. When team members start to act outside of the “normal,” you can see this as a signal that something may be wrong. Unusual behaviour is a flag for you to follow up on. 
  3. Knowing the regular behaviour of your team allows you to plan for improvement. If you have a baseline of how you expect your team to act, you can help people improve and grow both within your project and professionally. 

Know what is normal within your project team, and use this knowledge to help people grow and improve your project performance.