The one problem (um.. not really problem... let's call it difficulty) I am having is project management. I am used to a very organized, detailed work plan and when I am the project manager I am used to handing out assignments and setting up time lines for completion. When this happens I can check in at regular intervals, provide help where needed and have a general sense of the overall progress.
The precedent at ANJ seems to be a much more fluid process than I am used to. My supervisor feels really strongly about everyone working on things they're intellectually interested in, which is fine in theory but isn't working out so well for me in practice.
The last two team meetings we've had I have outlined what we need to do for the major project I am the lead on. This project encompasses work on 4 different topics. Thus, there are lots of options for people and I have said "my goal is to have 2 people working on each topic, just let me know which topics you are most interested in and then we can set up a game plan for how to tackle it". During or after the meetings some of the team members let me know what they want to work on and we talk about what steps they should take. I think things are going well, and then later they'll come into my office and ask me a question about a different topic. So, that indicates to me that they're jumping around from topic to topic. This doesn't really work for me.
I am not sure what the problem is. I think I'm being clear about what needs to be done and what I think is the most efficient way to split up the work. Then I tell them to pick their top choice.
- Some team members never pick a topic.
- Some team members pick a topic and go to work on it as I expect.
- Some team members pick a topic and then seem to jump all over the place.
- One person didn't pick a topic but did all this work (finding and summarizing literature) in a direction that isn't going to work for us.
I think that all of my team members are motivated and want to help with this project. So I don't think that is the problem. I think that I'm being clear about how I want to organize things (and how important it is for us to be organized so that we can meet our deadlines).
Is it possible that I just need to be more direct? Assigning topics to those who don't pick them, and giving more clearly laid out objectives so that people aren't jumping around? Basically coming out and saying "Hey once you pick/are assigned a topic, it's yours, only work on that one".
Any other ideas? Anything I'm not considering?