Launching a task-force successfully
Before you start running a task-force you will have a short moment or phase of planning and launching it. You should use this time carefully and wisely. Potential flaws during this phase might be a constant burden over the whole run-time of the task-force. I’ll show you the questions and the actions you need to successfully launch your task-force.
Why do we need a successful launch phase?
The launch or kick-off phase of a task-force is like the take-off of an airplane. Even it takes off the conditions might be not good and the overall journey might have started already under a bad star.
Key indicators of a successful launch phase
- What has to be done? The objectives!
- What has to be considered? The constraints!
- Who and what do we need? The members! the environment!
- When and where? The schedule!
3 mandatory actions for a successful launch
The following three actions shall support you in your intention to launch a task-force successfully.
1st Action: Define
You need to define the objectives and the needed resources for the task-force. Use the SMART-criteria to define the goals and targets of your task-force.
Pay attention to also clarify the knowledge and actions which are needed for your task-force.
Objectives and resources are needed for the next action.
2nd Action: Organize
This is the major part of your preparation action for the task-force. There are three different parts you need to have an eye on:
Participants should be selected …
- by their knowledge of the problem, the system, the technology or the methodology;
- whether they are affected by the problem or the objectives;
- whether they are involved into the creation or invention of the problem;
- whether they are involved into evaluating, finding or testing the situation the problem has been observed;
- whether they could provide a strong push and/or support to your task-force.
Your task-force should be schedule on a rule of thumb once per day. Usually you do not need more. However if there are extraordinary circumstances or outcomes, then it might be needed to meet more often. For example testing unveiled totally different results of the situation. Or you have team-members in two time-zones that far apart they do not meet each others during regular working hours.
But in general keep in mind: as long as needed, as short as possible.
Over the years I collected some details which should be contained in an informative invitation. Follow my Meeting invitation template to provide a meaningful invitation. Please remember that your task-force members will be more willing and more supportive if they immediately understand the purpose and the situation.
3rd Action: Handle limitations
During the launch phase you usually run into two different limitations:
- You do not get the persons
- You do not get the time, environment or the budget
For the first my preferred way of working is to decide. If it is not possible from your perspective to fulfill the work without the person you need, decline the task-force. If you do not get the needed expert, but you see a chance to achieve the goal, then accept. But request to get access to the expert on demand. Or accept a substitute which has direct access to the expert. With both approaches I have made good results.
For the second and if it is totally out of mind, decline the task-force also. An unrealistic approach needs to be highlighted in such situations. However if it is realistic, then accept with restrictions. Outline crystal clear what you can achieve with the limitations. To provide such statement reliably you need to have a deep insight view of the problem.