Long projects offer a unique set of challenges for your project management consulting team—deadlines are months or even years away, significant milestones are often few and far between, and the initial rush of “new project” enthusiasm eventually subsides. How do you maintain your group’s morale, encourage long-term innovation, and keep all eyes firmly on the project’s goals?
1 – Maintain regular communication. Project management team members will have an easier time managing their own slow periods if they’re aggressively connecting with others in the group on a frequent basis. Team meetings help to focus attention on the project’s overall progress, members receive regular reminders about upcoming activities, and any issues brewing in one area can be tackled by the group’s collective expertise.
2 – Identify interim milestones. Critical path items are always at the top of the list, but don’t forget that many other mid-project deliverables are worthy of recognition, too. With the project’s final success a long way off, it’s important to show folks that today’s efforts continue to be important. Letting the team know that their hard work is recognized and appreciated offers a good morale boost.
3 – Remember what you’re improving. A glimpse at the problems or inefficiencies your project will address is often a quick way to give folks new enthusiasm. Whether it’s struggling with an outdated piece of project management software or visiting a too-small manufacturing facility, your team can once again see how their efforts will make a tangible difference.
4 – Consider shifting resources. If team members possess the expertise to contribute in different areas of the project as time and needs allow, it may offer a good way to minimize the use (and cost) of external resources, while also giving folks a taste of something new or different. Understanding your team’s strengths is the key to successfully mixing things up once in a while.