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Topics: Change Management, Communications Management, IT Project Management
How to motivate team to update tracker regularly?

We use a lot of collaboration tools to plan and track projects. The problem is the team feels updating the efforts and status in the tool is a waste of time and effort. I have tried to highlight that it brings transparency and reduce dependencies as such tools can be assessed by anyone at anytime. But they are more comfortable in being called for a meeting and asked the status. And this problem is not with a few but every person in the team feels the same.

How do I motivate the team to regularly update the tracker tools, by incentives or by penalizing after a couple of warnings? How do make this a sustainable practice?

I need this to be done as I feel more comfortable with this approach and also the organization mandates usage of these tools.
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You need set some ground rules while selling the benefits of such updates, in a team meeting. In the planning stages of the project, the communication plan should have stipulated that these status reports are needed. A stronger approach would be to have stakeholders identify this as a requirement (this can still happen at any stage of the project through the change control system). You can also link the team's status update requirements to their performance assessment KPI's. You can advise their line/functional manager of their reluctance (once the above attempts have failed). Finally, you can highlight the consequences of not updating status, but you need to have the backing of senior management.

The status update issue should not be about motivating & incentives. Speak with the team and read the company mandate to them that the usage of the tools is not an option, it's a requirement that needs to be done by every project team member.

Speak with the team members manager that there is a resistance. The manger can help out on this issue.

Finally you need to set a frequency / time when the status update is needed so the team knows their deadlines to report status. Tell their manager and the team that you will send out an email list of all delinquent team members not reporting status.

That is a start to get the team onboard that it is a requirement and not an option for them.

The question you have to make to yourself is: why they must update it? from the point of view of stakeholders. To do something they must feel that they will be more rich doing that than without doing that. That is the "rule".

1. Follow it as a practice in the team.
2. If required, create RACI matrix and share with your team.
3. You can also open tracking sheet or board in front of the team at the time of daily stand up meetings. You can appreciate team for updating status on time and which will motivate others.
4. Unless the ticket is updated, hold it on for further updates and let your team own the tickets assigned to them.

Abhinav -

I think you'll want to dig deeper to understand the underlying root cause.

Is it that they enjoy the social interaction of a team meeting as they don't have enough opportunities to "break bread"? If so, perhaps having regular value add team ceremonies rather than status meetings might address that need.

Is it that they are concerned about being held accountable to dates which they didn't have input into? If so, you might want to explore a shift in work management practices to increase a sense of ownership.


These are some excellent suggestions so far, ranging from setting ground rules, to questioning the purpose of updating status to a different dimension of team enjoying social interactions.

Will try out a few of these suggestions for sure.

Thanks everyone and keep the ideas flowing!

Motivating team member has been a cause of concern. There are a lot of tools and methods to do so. You need to select and apply them based on your situation. However,most of the times, you better emphasize on this idea that reporting or updating is part of the job, not something extra.

How long would it take a team member to update his or her efforts and status in the tracker? Have you tried doing it yourself? Your team might not want to use the tracker if the process surrounding it is cumbersome, or the application isn't user-friendly.

First understand the root cause, stated before. Then you can work on the solution.

I remember a case where an individual didn't fill his own timesheet. Solution was more complex than it look.

With this challenge I find having meetings with the team and in the meeting fill out the status update document(s) with them is a good start. As time goes by transfer this responsibility more and more to the team members. As best practice the update should not be complicated which may create a steep learning curve, that is the source of the push back.
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