Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The essens of Project Management Motivation

Motivating team members is just one of the roles of a project manager. A team with good motivation will lead to increased productivity and quality. Keeping people motivated is also a factor that might help them stick around rather than leaving the company for a new job. Motivation is one of those things that may difference a project's failure or success.

Make people communicate with each other to build an open culture

Every person has ideas and opinions that they want to share. Set up sessions where people can share their ideas and opinions. Members will then see what kind of skill sets other members have. It also makes people connect to each other. This builds a culture where people accept others skill sets, opinions and capabilities.
It is also important to implement some of the ideas that come up. This keeps members happy and shows them that ideas are appreciated and supported.

Trust the skills of your team members
Face the fact that each member has their field of expertise. Use them as advisors when you have to take decisions. By letting team members take part in such decisions they will feel that their knowledge and expertise is appreciated from management.
Senior team members with a lot of experience are often attracted by this. People with a lot of experience often gives quality advises as well.

Give them feedback

Identify examples that a team member did very good and praise them for that. Tell them that he or she did a good job. Do not criticize people in open forums, making members feel awful in front the rest of the team is not appreciated by the rest of the team. If you need to criticize someone do it in your office.
By giving people feedback they will constantly try to improve their work. If a person fails try to make them reflect on why they failed and give the advice on how they can improve in the future.

Give team members training and education

Often projects, especially IT projects involve work in a domain where the project team is lacking knowledge. One way to acquire the knowledge needed is to send team members off to training. This motivates the members as well as improving the odds of project success.
A member can never get enough training and education there is always areas where they can learn. It is important to discuss this with your team member. Questions like "What do you want to learn more about?", "Is there any courses that you want to take that can contribute to this project?" can be a start.

Act as a mentor rather than a micro manager

Allow members to research problems and let them take decisions. Try to facilitate them and lead them on the way rather than telling them exactly what to do. By giving away some of your power as a project manager to the team members they will act a more on their own. This gives them confidence, another effect is that it improves the personal skills like decision making etc.

To summarize it is important to focus on open communication within the project team. Give positive feedback on deliveries that turn out good. Trust your team members' expertise and skill set. Be a coach/mentor for them rather than a boss that pushes them around. Many of these things might seem very obvious, but it is a lot of managers that do not follow simple things that can increase the motivation in a project team.

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