I have been in acquisitions training this week and of all the things I learned, I found this lesson to be the most valuable and applicable to every part of life, not just obtaining parts or programs. For a funny take on acquisitions check out http://sto-forum.perfectworld.com/showthread.php?t=269766
The 4 most important factors in successful acquisition
1. Have a common goal
This is a shared purpose, vision, objective and need. What do you wish to obtain, do, or accomplish with your team? From the big picture to the small part, knowing what and why will help you with the how.
2. Know your role, and that of others.
It is crucial to understand your part in contributing to the common goal. What are you responsible for? What are your team members responsible for? Knowing who engages in what actions is necessary for success.
3. Have a common code of conduct.
While it may seem obvious it is important to discuss the shared norms and ways of being as you and your team engage in your defined roles to accomplish your shared goals. For example you may assume a person would share issues while another assumes issues are not shared. Not having the common framework for how to address these and other issues will hinder progress. Conversely, the sky is just the beginning when you have an explicitly shared understanding.
4. Share the reward of your efforts.
This one is fun, shared celebration! As the program manager responsible for the next Mars mission, You might want to reward an engineer for her clever design that gets you to the far reaches of the galaxy for example but the project manager, budget analyst, and all other team members are critical to the implementation of the clever design. When everyone is tied to success and celebrates together, more is accomplished and acquired.
If you are interested in learning more about project management check out http://www.pmi.org no matter your field, STEM or otherwise this is a path and set of skills to be aware of. Where do your dreams take you? Do you have the tools to get there? I am grateful to have added to my tool box and to see what else I need to work on. Happy STEM projects to you!