We all know that projects are successful if the right people are involved and if those people are well-motivated to make the project a success. The people involved will include those who initiated the project, the customer and end-users and, of course, the people who will manage the work and do the work required to deliver the end-product. So let’s consider how a project manager can help those people to all work together more effectively.
A project team could be composed of a tight-knit group that know each other well and have worked together before. Or it could be comprised of several teams in different organisations and different countries who may never meet in person. Or any type of team between these two extremes but regardless of the type of team(s) involved it is essential that there is a clear aim for the projects and that everyone understands what that aim is and how it will be accomplished according to the project parameters (cost, time, quality etc).
The people are important but, obviously, you also need a good project plan, a well-defined risk management process and an effective communication plan, but assuming you have those in place you will need to ensure the project team are well-motivated if they are to work well together.
Identify Strengths & Weaknesses
It is important to identify the strengths of individual team members and the team as a whole so that you can build on those strengths to better motivate everyone. You can motivate individuals by recognising and playing to their strengths – for example, assigning tasks to those most able and willing to complete them to a high standard. When tasks, especially dependent tasks, are well done this has a positive knock-on effect on subsequent tasks helping to raise the standard of the work completed, which creates a good motivational cycle by building confidence and enthusiasm for the project.
You also need to identify the individual and team weaknesses if everyone is to pull together. Note all weaknesses can be overcome, for instance, a geographically dispersed team will always suffer from not being in the same location but recognising that as a weakness can help raise awareness of the potential issues. By acknowledging issues from the outset this can help motivate the team because they will be able to see that those leading the project understand difficulties that might arise.
By building on strengths and acknowledging and tackling weaknesses you can build a team that understands the key to successful projects and is capable of delivering even the most complex projects successfully
Listen To Concerns & Ideas
Always listen to the team’s input, their concerns and ideas, because this understanding is also motivational. If you want to get a feel for what their concerns really are – ask the group the following sorts of questions:
- Is the project properly funded?
- Does the team have the necessary skills and experience?
- What are the benefits of doing the project?
- How enthusiastic are people about the new project?
- Have team members worked together before
- Has the team done similar projects before?
- Who is responsible for providing estimates for tasks and setting deadlines?
To further motivate and enthuse the team, encourage discussions about both the benefits and risks of the project, and welcome team input and ideas about how tasks can best be completed.