PM Network – Go Team! This month’s PM Network magazine was finally available to me. Simon Kent’s article on motivating project teams caught my eye, starting at page 38. This article reminded of a post I wrote in February 2007, titled Motivational Theory In Project Management. It was there that I shared some thoughts about the topic in relation to Frederick Hertzberg. The PM Network article is mostly in line Hertzberg. The article doesn’t focus on theories or concepts but instead cites examples of how different project managers motivate their team and keep them there. The topic was interesting because it was experiential. Jonathan Bowman mentioned monetary rewards. However, he is right to point out that it is important to be careful about how this is done. This can be done by giving team-wide bonuses to encourage early completion or to bring in less than budget. Hertzberg says that monetary compensation is a motivator and not a hygiene factor. I agree with him. However, money can be used to recognize accomplishments if it is directly linked to them. Individual bonuses based on project performance would be a bad idea. This could be an incentive for people to excel and look good at the expense or project objectives. Instead, achievements should be documented in the performance reviews process and their relevant impact on salary increases. These are some of my favorite techniques from the article:

  • For co-located projects, create a team area. Make banners and place people who are working on the same project next to eachother. This encourages communication and can create a better team atmosphere.
  • Make it a learning experience. This one was a great experience. This is a great example of how to leverage the strengths of your team members and assign them a supporting role in an area they are interested. They can learn without taking on too much responsibility.
  • To gauge the progress of the project, use a monthly “team barometer”. This idea was suggested by Joli Mallick, PMP, and I think it is a great one. It’s a great idea. I’d like my thoughts on how to implement this.

    • Only 3 questions are required, not more or less.
    • Completion of a survey tool or website each month.
    • Anonymous
    • There is no multiple choice. All free-text.
    • The questions are generated and input by the head project manager with input from subordinate managers and leads.
    • The questions are constantly changing throughout the project. Boring and irrelevant questions are boring. If the questions are different each month, team members feel that their feedback is being used. This should not be used as a way to track communication performance. It is a direct feedback mechanism that allows you to manage projects daily.
    • To review the results and discuss the issues and solutions, hold a monthly status meeting.

It would take just a few hours per month to administer, analyze, communicate, and communicate something like the above. It would be worthwhile. This is a Delphi method session that takes place every month to highlight the most important problems and concerns in the project as soon as possible. It should not be difficult for you to justify the time you spend.