Gathering groups for anything can be difficult. Running them can be even harder, especially when there’s people’s passions and ambitions on the line. After you gather the team, you need to set people roles and keep group moral high, while making sure to balance people’s ambitions and visions for the project. Even if you’re the group lead, you’re no longer the only person shaping the project anymore and balancing conflicting visions can be difficult. Here are some basic tips to help your team have a better chance at succeeding.
Too Many Cooks!
First, only take on people you need. The old adage of, “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” is especially applicable here. People are both your greatest resource and your worst liabilities. Figure out the scope of your idea, and then how many people it would need to come to light in a reasonable time frame. If you’re starting with a team already made, adjust scope to the number of people in a similar way. If people are sticking around, they want to be involved and make meaningful impact on the project, so have a project big enough to allow that, without making it so big you need to take on more people. Expand or trim down as needed.
Second, watch out for conflicting egos. In a project where passion is everyone’s paycheck, conflicting ideas can pop up quite often, and running on passion can make anyone stubborn. Dividing people up so anyone with a lot of ambition will be able to affect the project in a significant way will help curb this problem, although constant communication with all parties will still be required.
We Play Platformers on Tuesday
Third, watch out for cliques. Group members that are really close to each other to the point of excluding others can cause significant problems, and I’ve actually lost one of my own projects to this problem. The clique can echo chamber their ideas, instead of discussing them with the group, causing an ego clash, as the clique will be more stubborn than normal. A way to circumvent this is to break up the group, trying to have them interact with as many other team members as possible.
Is It Snowing?
Fourth, watch out for flakes. Generally people that will flake out will also be mercurial and temperamental. Your group flaking out can be mitigated by doing short “touch-base” sessions and by doing small, frequent, and aggressive deadlines at the beginning. Try to keep morale high, and look for lack of drive. As the leader, make yourself seem open to criticism by asking for feedback with a simple, “Does anyone have any other concerns?” at the end of meetings.
Good Luck, Cat Wrangler
While you can’t do anything about people that are actually unreasonable, most people that would be interested in joining any kind of project in the first place will do their best to help it succeed, but not everyone is well versed in group dynamics and don’t understand how all their personal actions affect the group and the project. Emotions can run high, and general inexperience can cause many problems in fledgling teams. As the group lead or organizer, it usually falls to you to make sure everyone is equally heard, is on task, and is working together. Most problems can be abated with frequent check ins and incremental deadlines, and asking for suggestions or feedback. Everyone on a project wants it to succeed—it’s just a matter of making sure everyone is heard and included.