Technology software projects are not a walk in the park.
While some are short, others can span months or even years. And typically, the outcome of these projects is high stakes. For example, you’re implementing/creating a new HR, sales or financial application that is being used by key stake holders to track an entire company’s information.
We place many technical consultants in these important projects and what we have learned is that what clients really care about is attitude. Being a valuable member of a team requires certain tangible skills, yes. But meaningfully contributing to a project also involves soft skills like communication, leadership, and collaboration.
So, in this post, we will discuss four ways to achieve success on technical projects and become the team member everyone wants on their next project.
The key to project success is bringing your best self to work. That doesn’t just mean bringing your technical A-game, it also means being present, curious, and open. Let’s dive into four ways you can get a project toward the finish line faster.
Anyone can show up to work physically, but are you mentally present as well? Showing up fully means that you start your job on time, looking professional, ready, and able to help your managers and teammates throughout the day.
A physical office often serves as a forcing function for this kind of showing up but working remotely has made it a little easier to slack off. It’s important to not let hours go by without a response. Being prompt, helpful, and available gets things done faster with higher quality.
You shouldn’t approach a project thinking you have one job to do and that job only. Your aspect of the project likely affects other parts of the project, so it’s crucial to understand the whole picture. Instead of completing your tasks and logging off for the day, be engaged. Ask questions.
If you see someone struggling with something you know how to do, take the initiative and help them out. And if you’re finished with your work early, let your manager know. Not only will they be impressed with your speed, they’ll also be grateful for the heads-up. While sharing status updates may put more work on your plate, it leaves a far better impression to be busy than bored.
Communication is critical to project success. When people don’t know how you did something, what data you used, or how a certain part of the project is going, it’s virtually impossible to get things done. Share reports, explain your work, and ask for feedback. Be in a constant dialogue with your team, describing what’s going well and what’s not.
Getting in the habit of sharing information will come in handy if you experience blockers. When people know what your end goal is and what you’ve already tried, they are better able to assist you and resolve the problem quickly. Plus, what you learn may help you and others deal with this problem faster if it arises again on this project or another one.
There’s no way to grow in your career if you don’t learn new things. Use projects as an opportunity to flex your adaptability muscles. Show your manager and team that you’re willing to hear them out and try accomplishing tasks their way. You never know, their way may be much more efficient and eventually become the way you do things. And what you learn on one project may be easily translatable to the next, allowing you to add value at other companies or in other departments.
It’s important to remember that employers don’t just hire people because of their talent; they care about a consultant’s work ethic and demeanor as well. Sharing information with colleagues, being proactive, showing up with a can-do attitude, and trying new things goes a long way. When combined with strong technical skills, these qualities take your work, and the entire project, to the next level.
Photo Credit: Canva