So you’ve signed your project and had your very successful kickoff meeting – now what? Everyone, both customer and project team are excited and why not? It’s a new project, new people to work with, new (and hopefully exciting) scope – what’s not to love right? The tricky part is keeping up that sense of energy and momentum to carry forward into the execution phases of your project. Here are three ways to keep up that energy with both your customer and your team.
Keep Up Communications
Often times when both customer and project teams meet (usually at the kickoff) each group go their own separate ways, leaving only the project managers from each team to keep up communications. This is a great way to kill momentum and team energy on a project. Once those relationships have been established it should be a priority for both project managers to make sure the teams are interacting as much as they can as the project progresses. Building and maintaining positive working relationships will go a long way in helping see both teams through inevitable project issues and coming together to achieve a common goal.
Achieve a Milestone…Soon
Nothing brings teams together like success, no matter the size of the achievement. After the kickoff when collective team energy is high, a great way to keep the momentum moving forward is to mark a project achievement. Even if the milestone is somewhat insignificant compared to the entire scope of the project, having that sense of accomplishment that the team can share in is an inexpensive source of motivation and morale for both customer and project teams alike.
Set Small, Achievable Goals
Projects typically are struck for the purpose of achieving one over-arching goal. To keep momentum going with your project team it’s important to break your project up into smaller, more bite-size goals that while smaller (sometimes significantly) than the overall project goal, it keeps the team focused on short-term achievements which allows for better focus. Hockey players often use the cliché “one shift at a time” – this is the same concept. Focus on the work you have to do right now. In the periphery they can keep an eye to the overall goal but by not being distracted by the more long-term, larger vision (but not ignoring it either) they are able to ensure that the work they have directly in front of them is done and done well. Setting smaller goals keeps the sense of accomplishment going within your team and is another inexpensive source of motivation and morale.
Keeping up momentum for customer and project teams is a difficult thing to do for a project manager, however it’s essential to keeping your projects on track and helping to build relationships that will aid in navigating through the tough times on your project (yes, you will have them). When you have a strong team dynamic it allows you to overcome very difficult obstacles and deliver your project as planned.
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