1
Managing Small Teams –
Look beyond Process Simplification
Vimal Kumar Khanna
Sep. 2013
2Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
Agenda
1. Introduction
2. Desired Experience, Skills & Training...
3
Introduction
• Managing large projects/teams is complex, presents
many challenges
• Significant published work addresses...
4
Small not always beautiful
• Small teams (< 8) present unique management challenges,
immensely different from challenges...
5
Experiences
• Experiences from global software cos.
• Large/small/startups, product/services cos.
Managing Small Teams –...
6
Managing Large vs. Small Teams
Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
LARGE TEAM SMALL TEAM
Manager’s...
7
Desired Experience, Skills &
Training Requirements for Managers
• Reqmts of managing small teams different from large te...
8
Challenges for Managers
• Managers prefer managing large projects - need to motivate
them to manage small teams.
• Proje...
9
Sole External Interface
• Large Team: Multiple senior personnel for various roles –
Project Manager/Program Manager/Proj...
10
Managing Conflict
• Assumed since manager not leading large teams, needn’t be
highly expert in tackling interpersonal c...
11
Suggested Solutions
• Assign to rookie managers.
• Recently promoted Project Leads/Senior Engineers
(7-9 years).
• Lear...
12
Technically Motivate
• Hire technically-inclined managers.
• Managing small teams allows time to jump technically quite...
13
Play to your Technical Strengths
• Being only senior person, sole interface to external world.
• Technically understand...
14
Training Requirements
• Unique management skills required for
managing small teams.
• Covey’s “Seven Habits Training”.
...
15
Multiple Roles for Managers
• Low workload demotivates, esp. senior experienced managers.
• More time on hand – microma...
16
Manager’s Additional Role
POSSIBLE ROLES
• Team Member –
– Senior resource
– Underutilisation of experience, expertise....
17
Product Companies
• Product Management: Study competing products, gather new
reqmts from customers & suggest new featur...
18
Services Companies
• Business Development:
– Good expertise in Tech/Biz domains of
your services project
– Win more Ser...
19
Motivating Team Members
• Small Team - Limited challenges and growth opportunities.
• Team lacks motivation.
• Challeng...
20
Judicious Team Selection
• Manager handles all important functions - limited scope of delegating
major function to any ...
21
Broader Focus
• Large Team: Members have narrow focus.
– Exposed only to their specific project module
– Usually intera...
22
Interface with External Entities
• Manager responsible for interacting with external entities - Product
Manager, intern...
23
Responsibilities beyond experience
• Young team members interact with Product Manager on how
product/project strategies...
24
Share Systemic View
• Regularly interact with team members, share complete
understanding of product/project .
• Show ho...
25
Multitasking
• Never enough manpower for available tasks.
• Each team member should be assigned multiple tasks – makes
...
26
Bell Curve doesn’t ring
• Team small - growth opportunities for members limited.
• Strict policies on percentage member...
27
High Performance Extended Team
• Convince organisation not to force bell-curve on individual small
teams – spread acros...
28
Mitigating Attrition Impact
• Attrition impact on small teams much higher than on large projects.
• Single member quits...
29
Share Knowledge
• Avoid selecting team members with same last name!
• Husband-Wife: One quits to move outside city, hig...
30
Backup Planning
• Formally groom backups for team members.
• Large Teams: luxury of additional resources within team
ea...
31
Outsource Backup Planning
• Small co./startup: No large team for creating backups.
• Outsource some project tasks to se...
32
MBTI Assessment
• Manager’s additional role based on –
– Technical Expertise
– Psychological Personality Type
• Undergo...
33
Attitudes/Psychological Functions
• Attitudes: Extraversion/Introversion
– Extraverts (E) are action-oriented, operatin...
34
• Judging Functions: Thinking/Feeling
– Decision-making functions based on data gathered
– Thinking (T) decide from det...
35
Case Study
• Product Company: Technically Moderate + “EITJ”
Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
T...
36
THANK YOU!
Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Day 1 1505 - 1550 - pearl 1 - vimal kumar khanna

433

Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
433
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
4
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Day 1 1505 - 1550 - pearl 1 - vimal kumar khanna

  1. 1. 1 Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification Vimal Kumar Khanna Sep. 2013
  2. 2. 2Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification Agenda 1. Introduction 2. Desired Experience, Skills & Training Needs for Managers 3. Multiple Roles for Managers 4. Motivating Team Members 5. Mitigating Attrition Impact
  3. 3. 3 Introduction • Managing large projects/teams is complex, presents many challenges • Significant published work addresses this aspect. • Many projects in large/small cos. involve small teams – – Most projects in small cos./startups since overall co. size small – Pilot Projects, even in large cos. – Rookie managers assigned small projects Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  4. 4. 4 Small not always beautiful • Small teams (< 8) present unique management challenges, immensely different from challenges of managing large teams. • Published work suggests simplified management processes. • Cannot alone ensure success - finally team has to deliver using these processes. • Techniques to lead, train, mentor, motivate, meet aspirations of manager/team members. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  5. 5. 5 Experiences • Experiences from global software cos. • Large/small/startups, product/services cos. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  6. 6. 6 Managing Large vs. Small Teams Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification LARGE TEAM SMALL TEAM Manager’s Technical Expertise Level Low-Moderate High Manager’s Role Project Management Multiple Team Experience Experienced + Young Mostly Young Interpersonal Conflict Impact Low-Moderate High Team Growth Opportunity High Low Team Motivation Levels High Low-Moderate Attrition Impact Low-Moderate High Backup Planning Easy Challenging
  7. 7. 7 Desired Experience, Skills & Training Requirements for Managers • Reqmts of managing small teams different from large teams • Experience levels, management/tech. skills, training reqmts of managers are different • Large Cos.: Pool of managers from which to select – discuss desired experience/skills for managers. • Small Cos./Startups: All managers lead small teams - suggest training reqmts to meet challenges. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  8. 8. 8 Challenges for Managers • Managers prefer managing large projects - need to motivate them to manage small teams. • Project small - senior engineers don’t join, tasks not challenging as per experience. • Managers have to lead young teams - need to groom them on project reqmts/technologies. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  9. 9. 9 Sole External Interface • Large Team: Multiple senior personnel for various roles – Project Manager/Program Manager/Project Leads • Small Team: Manager has young team, sole senior person knowledgeable about activity. • Needs expertise to be sole external interface for product/project. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  10. 10. 10 Managing Conflict • Assumed since manager not leading large teams, needn’t be highly expert in tackling interpersonal conflicts. • Interpersonal trainings ignored. • On the contrary, skill more critical than for large teams. • Five Members: Conflict among two impacts 40% of project. • Project bound to be doomed. • Conflict of two members in large project - minimal impact. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  11. 11. 11 Suggested Solutions • Assign to rookie managers. • Recently promoted Project Leads/Senior Engineers (7-9 years). • Learning new management techniques - excited & motivated despite team being small. • Issues – – Complex small projects: Rookie managers cannot manage. – Small cos./startups: Even senior managers need to handle small teams. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  12. 12. 12 Technically Motivate • Hire technically-inclined managers. • Managing small teams allows time to jump technically quite deep. • Not possible in large projects - loaded with huge responsibilities. • Technically-inclined managers enjoy tasks & remain motivated. • If not technically strong - get trained/mentored in project Tech. Domain. • Moderately high tech. skill acceptable since can have Architect for complex tech. tasks. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  13. 13. 13 Play to your Technical Strengths • Being only senior person, sole interface to external world. • Technically understand product/project - present to external entities • Understand/incorporate their inputs. • Deep understanding of project reqmts/design/technologies. • Young Team - Technically strong manager can quickly train/groom them on project reqmts. • Can minimise attrition impact – can bring new replacement joinees quickly up to speed. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  14. 14. 14 Training Requirements • Unique management skills required for managing small teams. • Covey’s “Seven Habits Training”. • Get extensively trained on skills– – Managing interpersonal conflicts – Training/mentoring young team members – Team motivation Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  15. 15. 15 Multiple Roles for Managers • Low workload demotivates, esp. senior experienced managers. • More time on hand – micromanagement, making team unhappy. • Judiciously utilise additional time – assign additional role. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  16. 16. 16 Manager’s Additional Role POSSIBLE ROLES • Team Member – – Senior resource – Underutilisation of experience, expertise. • Manage Multiple Projects – – Project Knowledge, Tech/Biz. Expertise wasted – Relearning Requirement SUGGESTED ROLES • Good knowledge of Tech/Biz domains of product/project. • Utilise knowledge - assign dual role related to product/project . Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  17. 17. 17 Product Companies • Product Management: Study competing products, gather new reqmts from customers & suggest new features. • Customised Solutions: – Customers look for end-to-end managed solution instead of purely product. – Product needs to integrate with customers’ existing systems/software & meet additional reqmts. – Gather customer reqmts & suggest customised solutions around product - evolve into new services projects. • Architect/SME: If technically very strong and can balance tech. tasks with management responsibilities. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  18. 18. 18 Services Companies • Business Development: – Good expertise in Tech/Biz domains of your services project – Win more Services Biz in this domain. – Approach customers with similar reqmts, present company’s expertise, convince customers. • Architect/SME: for services project. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  19. 19. 19 Motivating Team Members • Small Team - Limited challenges and growth opportunities. • Team lacks motivation. • Challenge: Motivate young team despite these constraints. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  20. 20. 20 Judicious Team Selection • Manager handles all important functions - limited scope of delegating major function to any senior team member. • Don’t select senior engineers/project leads, aspiring to grow fast to management roles. • Better fit for large teams - can lead subset of team for modules • Small Team: – Young engineers – Technically-inclined senior engineers aspiring to grow in Tech. Ladder Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  21. 21. 21 Broader Focus • Large Team: Members have narrow focus. – Exposed only to their specific project module – Usually interact only with immediate Project Lead – Limited interactions with overall Project Manager – Minimal interfacing with external entities. • Small Team: – Complete view of product/project – Direct interfaces with Project Manager, Product Manager, internal/external customers – Motivate team by capitalising on these facts Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  22. 22. 22 Interface with External Entities • Manager responsible for interacting with external entities - Product Manager, internal/external customers. • Large Project: Manager includes Module Project Leads in meetings for details of progress of modules under them. • Small Team: No Project Leads - increase exposure of young team members to motivate them. • Project knowledge distributed among all team members – include them in meetings with external entities for their modules Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  23. 23. 23 Responsibilities beyond experience • Young team members interact with Product Manager on how product/project strategies decided. • Interact with customers to understand their reqmts, learn how to convert into features. • Exposure gives broader perspective. • Trains on tasks that engineers of their experience don’t handle • Prepares for future major responsibilities. • Young engineers excited about & motivated on their work. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  24. 24. 24 Share Systemic View • Regularly interact with team members, share complete understanding of product/project . • Show how fits in overall company goals. • Systemic view of product/project, understanding of criticality of their own role to success of overall activity motivates. • Architect developing complete product/project architecture, instead of architecting single module for large project. • Handling complex/challenging task that prepares him for future responsibilities Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  25. 25. 25 Multitasking • Never enough manpower for available tasks. • Each team member should be assigned multiple tasks – makes him learn/apply multiple technologies • Opportunity not offered by small module in large project. • Challenges keep him motivated Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  26. 26. 26 Bell Curve doesn’t ring • Team small - growth opportunities for members limited. • Strict policies on percentage members to be rated high, to maintain “Bell-Curve” in organisation for performance ratings. • Say, only 15% can be rated “A”. • Large Team: 30 members, 5 as “A” – reasonable count. • Small Team: 6 members, only one “A” – constraining if team has more than one star performers. • Bell-curve artificially applied to small teams - employee demotivation Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  27. 27. 27 High Performance Extended Team • Convince organisation not to force bell-curve on individual small teams – spread across multiple small teams. • 5 teams, 6 members each – extended team of 30. • Performance Rating Meetings - team managers present their cases to VP, to decide top 5 members for “A”. • VP aware of relative performance of each team - can judge which teams have more high-performers. • More members of performing team can be rated “A”. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  28. 28. 28 Mitigating Attrition Impact • Attrition impact on small teams much higher than on large projects. • Single member quits 4-member team - project loses 25% workforce! • Drastic impact on his module and overall project. • Must apply techniques to prevent attrition, mitigate its impact. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  29. 29. 29 Share Knowledge • Avoid selecting team members with same last name! • Husband-Wife: One quits to move outside city, high possibility both will leave together. • Insist team members hold regular knowledge sharing sessions about their modules. • If one quits – others still knowledgeable about his work. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  30. 30. 30 Backup Planning • Formally groom backups for team members. • Large Teams: luxury of additional resources within team earmarked as backups. • Small teams always constrained of resources - cannot plan backup within team. • Work in tandem with a large team - earmark an additional resource therein as backup. • Involve in project functions, aware of tasks being performed by others - design/code/test-cases reviewer. • Attrition - ready to join team & take over member’s module fast. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  31. 31. 31 Outsource Backup Planning • Small co./startup: No large team for creating backups. • Outsource some project tasks to services co. • Services co. resource can act as backup for small team. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  32. 32. 32 MBTI Assessment • Manager’s additional role based on – – Technical Expertise – Psychological Personality Type • Undergo scientific Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) “Personality Type” assessment • Measures psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. • Personality Types: Combination of attitudes/psychological functions Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  33. 33. 33 Attitudes/Psychological Functions • Attitudes: Extraversion/Introversion – Extraverts (E) are action-oriented, operating in external world of behaviour/action/people/things. – Introverts (I) are thought-oriented, operating in internal world of ideas/reflection. • Perceiving Functions: Sensing/Intuition – Information gathering functions – Sensing (S) trust tangible information - meaning is in data. – Intuitive (N) trust abstract information -meaning is in underlying theory that is manifested in data. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  34. 34. 34 • Judging Functions: Thinking/Feeling – Decision-making functions based on data gathered – Thinking (T) decide from detached standpoint - measure decision by what seems logical, matches given set of rules. – Feeling (F) decide by empathizing with situation, achieving greatest consensus, considering needs of people involved. • Judging versus Perception preference – Judging (J) show world their preference for judging function. – Perceiving (P) show their preferred perceiving function. Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  35. 35. 35 Case Study • Product Company: Technically Moderate + “EITJ” Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification Technical Strength Moderate Product Mgr Customised Soln Architect Personality Extravert Product Mgr Customised Soln Can interact with customers Intuitive Product Mgr Customised Soln Intuitively suggest new features Thinking (Dominant Judging) Product Mgr Logically evaluate competing product features, customer inputs – decide features
  36. 36. 36 THANK YOU! Managing Small Teams – Look beyond Process Simplification
  1. A particular slide catching your eye?

    Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.

×