In school there are many team assignments, they teach people how to work together. Of course, there is not standard definition of what “working together” means.
My wife is an interior designer, as a result, we have a number of projects around our house that we want to do, but we don’t make much progress on them. Why does that have to be the case? We’re working together after all.
Part of the reason is because in her normal work, there is a designer/client relationship. One is here to do the work, the other to approve it. It’s clear cut. In my case, I’m sort of a co-collaborator and client at the same time. I’m taking part in the design, but I’m also approving it, but my wife is also the client and the designer herself. Add to it that since we aren’t being hired by someone there is no in-and-out situation. The deadlines drag on forever. Unlimited revisions. It tends to be a combination of no clear authority, no clear worker, no clear timelines equals no progress.
This is something we all internalize easily, but it’s something that we don’t often pay attention to as the reason why improvements don’t get made at companies. Or the reason we have the same conversations 100 times because the dynamic doesn’t change.
Here’s some questions to attempt to overcome this scenario.
- What is the project?
- What are the domains of expertise required?
- Who is responsible is assigned to the different domains?
- What are the deadlines?
- Who makes the final decisions (is this domain dependent?)?
- Who decides the budget?
- Who has authority to spend the money and how much?
- Who is responsible if things fall apart, someone leaves or is incapacitated and needs to be replaced mid-project?
If you can’t answer all of these, you probably aren’t ready for your project.