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I've been wondering about O3s in my odd situation. I am a project manager with no direct reports. When a project is created, I have to 'recruit' team members from the functional managers. These are usually very technical projects. We do most of the thinking work in regularly scheduled team meetings. Team members do about half of the analysis, and I pull it all together for the next meeting.

Typical conditions
[list]Projects last 6-12 months
Team members report to their functional managers, not me
Functional managers formally approve some % of their report's time (usually 10-15%)
Teams have 3-7 members (plus me)
I usually manage 2 or 3 teams simultaneously working very different projects
Teams are usually sponsored two or three levels up the heirarch (functional managers supervisor or his/her supervisor)[/list:u]

Once a week I meet informally with each team member, or at least the members that are actively working on part of the project. Usually it is just a 5-10 minute check-in at their convenience. We talk about personal stuff, weather, family, and then the project. (BTW, I'm somewhat high D and C so the personal stuff is deliberate, and it depends on the person.) I give feedback (usually thanks for getting that done, or I need that done so we can move on to such-and-such). Sometimes we discuss general project direction. We don't really discuss development since that is not my role.

Since discovering MT, I've wondered if a formal weekly meeding would be helpful. My main deterrent is that I am completely at the will of their other work. I have a heck of a time scheduling meetings with any one member. Great example: Last week I scheduled a 1 hr data-mining meeting with a member who really wanted to get involved with it... we've rescheduled twice because of his other obligations.

On a positive note... I really love this position. It is a great way for me to develop my leadership skills. I have learned a lot about motivating people when I have no authority over them. This really is a great learning environment.

Jeff

sauce's picture

Thanks for posting this question. It is very near to my situation.

Your question also provides part of the answer, for me. In that I need to go to each of my project workers to see how things are going, even if that is just for ten minutes, like you do. So that is my first step.

I'm very interested to hear more comments.

jeffh's picture

I've become dissatisfied with the 'check-in' meetings ever since I started learning about MT O3s. Some of the threads about matrix organizations seem to support the idea that I can help the project, as well as the team members, by holding more formal O3 sessions. I can't wait to discuss this live at the conference next month.

Jeff

Mark's picture

I'm sorry this has taken me so long. I regret my absence.

Yes, please start doing O3s. (Same format) They are a Godsend in these situations. The first few WILL be hard, because of scheduling. And then they'll realize the value, and they'll keep to the schedule (proving that the scheduling problem never really WAS the other work.)

Works every time.

Again, my apologies for my delay.

Mark

Mark's picture

But let's not get confused with 10 minutes being a one on one... it's not. Chatting for 10 minutes is great. But it's not the same as, not as valuable as, not as rich as, not as telling as, a true one on one.

Mark

jeffh's picture

Thanks for the encouragement Mark. I agree that the scheduling issues reflect priorities, not necessarily real schedule conflicts. Also the brief conversations were a step in the right direction, but as you note, they do not cover all the ground. I think a formal review will be good for the project. I've noticed lately that at the start of each meeting, I waste (yes waste) 5-10 minutes reiterating where we are in the project, what our next step is, and what the end results will look like.

I'm starting O3s this week. It is going to take a little while to get everyone organized... especially me. :)

Jeff