“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra.” ~ H.E. Luccock
As the old saying goes “There is no ‘I’ in Team”. Each team member has a role and adds value in his/her own way; it’s the work he/she does that contributes to the success of a project as a whole. However, the actions of one person on the team can impact the entire team and project — causing, what I like to call, the trickle-down effect.
So what can be done to minimize the trickle-down effect? The most important thing is to communicate, communicate, and yes, communicate even more with your project manager and all team members.
People are often working in their own little silos…not giving much thought to anything beyond their own tasks; it’s important to also have some self-awareness about how your actions can impact a project. Before you consider taking action, give some thought to how you can impact the three areas below.
Timelines: Will a decision you make without consulting your project manager have ramifications on timelines? You can impact team members or a client’s schedule when you deliver your task late or even early. For instance, passing off your part of the project to your coworker late results in him/her having to work overtime to meet the client’s due date. The same is true for delivering early. If you tell the client the deliverable is ahead of schedule but fail to communicate to your team member the expectation is for him/her to deliver the item early, the new deadline will be missed.
Budget: Are you spending time on something the client didn’t ask for? Or, on the flipside, spending time on something the client did request but that is out of the project’s scope? In other words, if you don’t consult with your project manager on doing “extra” work, the trickle-down effect is the project going over budget.
Team members: Does the decision you’re going to make impact your coworkers in ways you may not know, such as 1) creating more work for them, 2) impacting their timeline, and/or 3) causing confusion.
We are all part of a team and that team tackles a project. The outcome of the project depends on the interaction of the entire team. A little self-awareness and a lot of communication go a long way in stemming to stem the flow of the trickle-down effect.