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Topics: Change Management, Communications Management, Stakeholder Management
How do you keep up energy and morale when things go wrong with your project?
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In today’s environment, project demands for faster project implementation. We are also responsible for keeping the team’s morale up even when things go bad or we lose badly. As a project manager, how do you keep up energy and morale when you hit the roadblock?
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Encourage your team to give the best at all times
Let them know that the projects can fail but as a team they never fail because they have put in their 110%
Ask them to aim for the home-run every time but not to fear if they get out. There is always another innings.
Thank your team every day for the efforts they are putting into the project
Keep your managers and customers informed that the team is working hard
Check if your team members need any soft skills training.
Do retrospectives with the team to identify the root causes of project failure or delays and always find ways to improve.
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2 replies by Anish Abraham and Rajeev Sharma
Jan 11, 2018 10:00 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Deepesh for your insight and I agree on this.

I think understanding the team in advance will help to identify how they react to situations like this. So, I guess it's very important to know the team.
Jan 11, 2018 11:33 PM
Rajeev Sharma
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Agree with you !
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Drink coffee. Oh and yeah what Deepesh said. I would add that experiencing mistakes, failures and things going wrong should be seen as an opportunity to learn and do better next time. You can't learn as much from successes as you can from failures. Celebrate your failures (without jumping up and down) as lessons learned.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 11, 2018 10:24 PM
Anish Abraham
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Caffeine sometimes add more fuel to the fire :), anyway I prefer tea.

Sante, I agree that this is an opportunity to learn, and to plan for success next time. I think, if the team overcame from the failure, as a PM you not only boost the team morale but also helped them to recover from a loss.
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Anish -

I've often found myself in this situation - it's important that you help team members gain perspective. Issues will emerge and small failures might happen, but that shouldn't diminish successes to date. Know the pulse of your team and if they are getting too stressed or tempers are flaring, find a way to give them a temporary change of scenery - maybe take them on a walking meeting outdoors if the weather is good.

I also find it helps to provide team members with a copy of the Serenity prayer - it is useful even if someone is not spiritual or religious!

Kiron
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 11, 2018 11:18 PM
Anish Abraham
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Kiron, I agree with you on this.

The PM is responsible for keeping the team on track, regardless of whether the project was a failure or not
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Hi Anish,

First of all, it's crucial to have the right people assigned to your project team. In both aspects, technically and behavioral. It doesn't mean they must be the best of the best in their fields, but they have to be adequate to the project.

Second of all, our major role as PM/Leaders must be to create the right environment so people can do what they know and what they are acquired to do, their job. (In my experience, the conducive environment is often ruled by respect, transparency, trust and the right amount of tension toward reaching the desired goal combined with points of relaxation).

Since we have this, the work will flow better if the team members are involved and collaborate on building team's decisions together (and even in higher-level decisions when possible). Is also our job to give recognition when goals are achieved, correction when they aren't and support when the things go out of our reach.

And when things go really bad, as you've pointed in the question, it is important to bring everybody together so they can help to heal each others wounds, see the good things they've done along the way, the lessons to learn from what went wrong and the most important of all: to build new alternatives and solutions.

History is full of examples of individuals, teams, companies, and even nations that have faced adversities but remained resilient and ended up stronger and achieving tremendous success afterwards.

Summing things up. It will always rely on the PM/Leader's shoulders to conduct and guide people through good and no-good times. And to prevail successfully in any situation, our attitudes must be based on 4 pillars (which I call the 4 C's on Leadership): Character, Courage, Confidence and Creativity. Even if the definition of success in that situation is just survive or lose with dignity. (By the way, in my case it was the second option).

Att,
Suleander
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 11, 2018 11:25 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Suleander for your feedback on this. I completely agree with you on this.

I think observing the team closely is very important to maintain the team morale during project failures.
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It depends where you are in the project. If the project is still on, then get team together, discuss the issues and ask them to brainstorm to come to solutions. Check out for risks team members are thinking of. Earlier you know the risks the better prepared you will be.
Acknowledge hard work of team members.

If the project is almost done- then not much can be done. Learning lessons will teach what can be done to prevent in next similar projects. Recognize hard work of team members and those who have really added more efforts.

Regardless of the timing, outdoor team activity for goals review, will ease up. Communication is the main thing.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 11, 2018 11:40 PM
Anish Abraham
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I agree with you, Shivanjali and thanks for your response.
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Very good input from the group.

I would like to add that when you are the Project Manager the focus will be on you in good times and bad times. You need to maintain composure at all times to radiate your positive energy and confidence that you will get through this low point in time and continue to lead the team with confidence.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 12, 2018 8:14 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Drake for your insight on this.
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The only thing I can add to the previous answers is to always let the team know that you have their backs and you are there to support them in any way you can.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 12, 2018 8:13 AM
Anish Abraham
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Dianh, thanks for your response and I agree with you on this.
Network:1555



Jan 11, 2018 5:20 PM
Replying to Deepesh Rammoorthy, PMP®
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Encourage your team to give the best at all times
Let them know that the projects can fail but as a team they never fail because they have put in their 110%
Ask them to aim for the home-run every time but not to fear if they get out. There is always another innings.
Thank your team every day for the efforts they are putting into the project
Keep your managers and customers informed that the team is working hard
Check if your team members need any soft skills training.
Do retrospectives with the team to identify the root causes of project failure or delays and always find ways to improve.
Thanks Deepesh for your insight and I agree on this.

I think understanding the team in advance will help to identify how they react to situations like this. So, I guess it's very important to know the team.
Network:15948



Failure is expected invariably throughout life and in projects, but having the ability to learn from failure is considered a key path to growth. Lessons learned from failure leads to humility, adaptation, and resilience. It is important to go through the entire process along with the team to pin point the reasons which led to failure and than developing a strategy not repeat those mistakes.
Coffee also works.....
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1 reply by Rajeev Sharma
Jan 11, 2018 11:42 PM
Rajeev Sharma
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That's true failure is a reality, face them confidently and learn. Your style of dealing failures also become unspoken language many times to pass messages to your team members. Motivation to mitigate slippages, variances and a few incidental failures during the project life cycle (innovatively) if get rewarded appropriately at the end of project that become another language for subsequent projects.

Rajeev
Network:1555



Jan 11, 2018 5:29 PM
Replying to Sante Vergini
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Drink coffee. Oh and yeah what Deepesh said. I would add that experiencing mistakes, failures and things going wrong should be seen as an opportunity to learn and do better next time. You can't learn as much from successes as you can from failures. Celebrate your failures (without jumping up and down) as lessons learned.
Caffeine sometimes add more fuel to the fire :), anyway I prefer tea.

Sante, I agree that this is an opportunity to learn, and to plan for success next time. I think, if the team overcame from the failure, as a PM you not only boost the team morale but also helped them to recover from a loss.
...
1 reply by Sante Vergini
Jan 12, 2018 12:31 AM
Sante Vergini
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I can't kick the coffee just yet, but I've started drinking green tea.
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