Project Management

Project Management 2.0

New technologies, concepts, and Web 2.0 tools are popping up everywhere. How can you use them to help your project team collaborate, communicate - or just give your project an extra boost? [Contact Dave]

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Recent Posts

Are You Prepping For The PMP 24/7?

Are You Just Too Darn Busy?

Eliciting Requirements... Creatively!

What To Expect When Your Stakeholders Are Expecting

8 More Templates to Save You Time

Creating Incentives For Teamwork

Situation: You need your team to come together quickly.

We often say that knowing the right questions to ask can be even more important than "knowing" what to do. For that reason, in Project Headway, each task level activity includes a section called "Questions that you ask of yourself and others". The section below lists out the questions we currently include in Creating Incentives for Teamwork.  What would you add or remove from this list?


Questions to Ask of Yourself and Others

To better understand how to create incentives for teamwork, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • How are you encouraging teamwork on the project?

  • Are your team members working well together?

  • Where are their areas of conflict?

  • Do you understand what needs to be in place to promote teamwork on this team? 

Consider asking your HR person, trusted colleague, or the team member the same questions.


Task Description

Build a team; develop teamwork. Encourage individual participants to work with others as a team, giving the team the authority to act within their level of responsibility. Facilitate communication between individuals and foster an attitude of cooperation. Ensure that team members have a clear understanding of their own tasks, the tasks assigned to other team members, and the relationships between the two. Let the team balance individual empowerment and group collaboration. Allow individuals to control their own style of work, while encouraging team members to develop methods of coordination.

Consider team assignments carefully. Weigh individual strengths and weaknesses carefully in making team assignments. Vary the roles played by each individual and the groups of individuals who work together as a team on project tasks. Reward effective teamwork.

Tips and Tricks

Obviously, you want to encourage people to work more as a team. Consider the following:

  • Understand incentives. Before you go and offer incentives, be sure that people actually see it as an incentive. Offering the team tickets to an upcoming soccer game may appeal to some people, but not everyone. Find out from the team what they appreciate and value as incentives and means of recognition.
  • Vary partners. There may be opportunities to have people work together as partners or in smaller groups. Vary the groups on a periodic basis to given people the opportunity to work closely with others on the team.
  • Caution: Don’t change things too often. Change for the sake of change is not always a good thing. If things are working really well, consider staying in a holding pattern for a while longer.
Posted on: September 19, 2013 01:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Should You Tell Your Story?

Situation: A "story" would really help your cause, but you're not quite sure how to make it work.

A story can make a huge difference in your effectiveness as a Project Manager.  While you don't want to over-think it or turn telling the story into a complex process, there are a few things that are good to consider - especially if it's important that you get the message across in a clear, motivational way.  So here's some food for thought.

First establish a purpose...
Sometimes you feel like a story would be helpful, but you’re not sure why.   If you don’t clarify your purpose up front you might end up with a story that sort of fits - but not really.  In the end, that could just make things worse.  So start by figuring out why a story might help.

Why are you telling a story? (a few possibilities)

  • To highlight a success that could be replicated in the future?
  • To give people an emotional tie to an important point or larger theme
  • To create greater understanding of complex relationships (perhaps everyone is missing the point and you need to get them back on track) 

Choosing a story to tell
Logically, if you understand your purpose, then you’ll either know of a story or find one on the web that suits your purpose. One you believe you’ve found one, ask yourself..

Is this your story?
Is it one that you are comfortable telling?  Does it fit with the values that people associate with you (would it be “weird” for you to tell this story?)

Is this their story?
Is it appropriate for the audience? Is it something related to their lives and interests?  Is it one that they would enjoy? (this could involve some testing with one or two people first)

Is this story right for now?
Is it appropriate for the time and place you are telling it?  Sometimes it’s easier to relate to if it’s compatible with a current event, the geographic area you are in, or time of day you are telling the story.

Will anyone care or remember it?
Does it involve interesting, memorable characters? Can you ensure that you develop the characters enough in telling the story that people care what happens to them? Does the story have repetitive patterns that make it easier to remember? Does it involve a resolution to a conflict?


I think that the points above are critical when picking a story to tell and thinking it through.  If you would like to go a bit deeper - tuning your story and rating your delivery of it, check out our new Project Management Story Telling Checklist

Happy story-telling!

Posted on: December 08, 2011 05:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Teambuilding Without Training Wheels

Categories: Team Building

Situation: You're Hard Up For Team Building Options

There are sites out there that offer teambuilding exercises you can do in the office, which I guess is ok if your group is the "go along with it" type.  However, most need something a little different and off-site.  Which brings us to this goofy idea for a teambuilding exercise.  The conference bike has been around for a while now.   I thought I'd throw it out here, just because its unusual.  Wikipedia defines teambuilding in a rather complex way, which I think is what happens once people start consulting in a particular area.  To me, if everyone just gets along a little better afterwards, then we've had a good outing.

Other Options
I tend to think weird=memorable.  I'm still working on getting everyone to do the group Trapeze Lessons.  We've done Dave and Busters, Ice Skating, etc. - but I just can't bring myself to do the ropes course thing.  Our crew is a little more outspoken , dynamic, and opinionated than most.  So we just try to get together and have a good time once in a while. 

Posted on: April 06, 2007 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Color Me Funny...

Page 1Situation: Your Team Needs a Good Laugh

I'm not typically an email "forwarder", but someone really put some time and thought into this Executive Coloring Book.  My friend Laurie sent it to me a couple of months ago and everyone I've shown it to loves it.

Posted on: April 04, 2007 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Turn the Company Picnic into a Music Video...

Situation: You Need To Turn a Stack of Meeting Pics into Something Cool...

How many meetings have you been to where someone has a PowerPoint slide show of bad digital pics cycling through checkerboard transitions @ 1 every 3 seconds.  Fliptrack offers a quick way to replace those LAME-O snoozefests with a quick music video.  This is a decidedly poor example (just some pics of ganttheads from the 2006 PMI NA Global Congress), but it took me less than two minutes to throw together...

Posted on: March 28, 2007 11:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

- Bertrand Russell