4 inexpensive ways to motivate your team through a long project
Friday, March 22, 2019
When you’re on a long project, it’s easy to get lost in the drudgery of a seemingly never-ending to-do list. Celebrating the completion of the project might be a year away. If you’re not diligent to avoid it, your team may soon become weary of the project.
This impacts team morale and can derail productivity. One way to keep the team motivated is to celebrate milestones completed along the way. Whether it’s finishing a tough Agile sprint or writing the last of the test scripts, a little celebration is in order.
Here are several ways to celebrate as a team without busting the project budget:
No. 1: Bring on the food
Bring coffee, donuts, bagels, and fruit into the office for a team meeting one morning. Mention that the team has wrapped up a key milestone and that we’re taking a few minutes out of our usual team meeting to savor the moment.
No. 2: Recognize contributions
Do you have one or two team members whose efforts made reaching this milestone possible? Did someone figure out how to overcome an issue or a significant challenge?
Take time to recognize those accomplishments. Give those individuals a nice coffee mug or another useful item, thank them in front of the team, and make sure you get word back to their managers as well.
No. 3: Change the scenery
Depending on how your project is set up, you might have a central team room where some team members work each day or in which you have all team meetings. Once you’ve hit a key milestone, clean up whiteboards and file paperwork related to that milestone. Freshen up the room a bit and consider changing something about the setup.
It’s a small gesture, but a simple scenery change can help set the tone that we’re in a new phase of the project.
No. 4: Invite the project sponsor to stop by
You probably have the most interaction with the project sponsor of anyone on the team. If the team highly respects the sponsor, consider asking him/her to stop by to encourage and thank them for their work.
Ask the sponsor to remind the team of why this project is essential to the organization and what its completion will help the company accomplish. Hearing the project vision and receiving recognition from an admired leader can boost everyone’s mood and renew their motivation for the project.
In leading projects that lasted a year or more, I felt the strain of dealing with project issues, changing team members, and wondering if we’d ever cross the finish line. Taking a few moments to reflect on and celebrate team accomplishments can help alleviate some of that monotony.
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