I recently became a remote Program Manager. As remote PM my team is spread across multiple states and continents so, when working on group projects, I have to make sure that I can accurately explain and express my ideas. In my first couple of weeks , I have learned so much on effective communication of project goals and expectations.
Precision of language
Precision of language, is probably the most important skill you’ll need to work on through out a career.
When trying to figure out a bug, a new language, or an API it is easy to get anxious; especially on a group project. In situations like these being able to ask precise questions is essential for getting a project finished.
Let’s have a look at the two chats above. In chat you are giving a lot of unnecessary information. This will not only confuse you but, confuse the person you’re working with. In chat B you are giving a precise description of what you are trying to achieve hence, giving you an immediate solution.
Precision of language comes in different forms and extends beyond emails and chat messages. One of my new favorite tools to use is CodePen. My colleague Jordan recently introduce me to using CodePen as a way to sandbox your code and share it with your team. This makes it easy to identify bugs and share ideas. Consider using this if you ever get caught in a chat A scenario.
Don’t get caught up in the pageantry! When working on a group project it is easy to get caught up it in creating something “amazing”! The problem here is you get caught up in the pageantry; this leads to high or unnecessary expectations.
In my last group project, one of things I needed to do was plot latitude and longitude on a map. Sounds simple? It is. So, don’t try to make it more than it is actually is.
Don’t get caught up in creating an amazing animations in D3.js, OpenLayers, Leaflet JS, Modest Maps etc. Concentrate on getting it working first. Believe me, your team will appreciate a working prototype before, you show them the fancy D3.js overlay on Bing maps.
Start simple, then add to your project you will achieve so much more. Remember it isn’t a pageant show.
If you have questions don’t hesitate to ask. When working on a group project asking questions and getting clarification on project goals will save time. You never want to spend time working on code that just isn’t needed.
Initial project meetings spark a lot of excitement because, building stuff is fun! It is so easy to get swept up in it all, and start making assumptions on the project goals.
If you are uncertain or need clarification on the project’s scope make sure: send wireframes, screenshots or workflows to your team, and ask for a follow-up meeting. The most important thing is to make sure you are all on the same page.
At the end of the day seeing something you helped build being presented at conference gives you a huge sense of accomplishment.
I hope that this post helps you or your team work a little better