Follow-ups introduce project management to a company in the following ways:
- Establish a culture of accountability – once people start getting accustomed to being held accountable for completing tasks, it will be easier to establish associated due dates and budgets.
- Keep team members productive – team members get frustrated over not being able to accomplish something when they are waiting for another task to be completed. When there isn’t a role established to monitor progress, team members often sit back and wait to be notified they can start something.
- Keep projects moving – how many projects simply stall out in the early stages because nobody is steering them forward?
- Online project collaboration software – all tasks on a project are listed out and I can review them for due dates. Even though these dates are very loose in my organization, it still gives me a baseline to track against and I can easily request a status update from a task owner without a lot of extra steps.
- Email – I keep any emails I need to follow up on directly in my inbox rather than moving them to a folder – the “out of sight, out of mind” theory. Every few days, and always on Fridays, I look through everything in my inbox to see what is still outstanding and then I do follow-up emails or phone calls on those items.
- Status Meetings & Meeting Minutes – I place all follow up items from status meetings into a separate Follow-Up Items section of my meeting notes with details on who owns the task and the expected timeframe. I refer back to my notes before the next status meeting so we can kick off the meeting with a review of the follow-up items.
Concentrating on follow-ups isn’t helping me work on advanced project management skills, but once I get everyone used to being held accountable, I can work on getting them to accept firm due dates next. Baby steps ...
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