Jennifer Wright
PMP, Writer

Rewarding Project Teams

Rewarding Project Teams and Celebrating Successes
 
- Jennifer Wright
 
 
In my fourteen years as a project manager in many different types of organizations, I have come to realize that there are a few actions you can take that go a long way in building strong relationships. Recognizing your team members and celebrating their successes are just a couple of ways that you can build those relationships. Many times I will have a project team member and sometimes an entire project team, who go well above and beyond what is expected. These efforts should be recognized and celebrated. 
 
 
Reward positive, effective behavior

 
A project is delivered earlier than expected. A major milestone on the project is reached under budget. Your project team completes a project with fewer resources that were first projected. A project team member finds an innovative way to resolve an issue. These are the types of behaviors that create sustained success for the project and the organization and they should be recognized. The benefits are tremendous, not the least of which is that you are encouraging a replication of those behaviors that lead to success. 
 
Even difficult projects can be rewarded and celebrated. Many times project issues are outside the control of the project team. In these cases, when the project team steps up and resolves those issues while minimizing the impact to the project, that is a great opportunity to celebrate a success. 
 
 
How to Celebrate Your Successes

 
There are many options you can choose to celebrate individual successes or team successes. 
 
Company or Organization Awards and Bonuses
    Many organizations have programs in place to provide recognition for a job-well-done. Find out what’s available either from the company or the organization. If you are working with a cross-functional team, you may need to reach out to the leader of your project member’s organization to see what options may be available for the individual. If you want to submit a team award, see what might be available from your organization or the Project Sponsor’s organization. 

    Keep in mind that these types of awards will more than likely require some type of application and approval process and you might need to obtain budget depending on the current policy.
 
Gift Cards
    Gift cards can be a great, less-expensive way to say “Thank You” to your project team members. You can purchase gift cards from local coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores or give out gift cards for music downloads or online retailers and they can be any denomination from $5 to $100 or more. 
Team Outing
    A team outing can be a great team-building opportunity and even be used to help relax tensions on a project or smooth out conflict between team members. Team outings can come in many forms from a team breakfast or a round of golf or bowling to an organized team-building event. 
Leadership Recognition
    A “Thank You” from one of the leaders in the organization can go a long way in helping the team know that their hard work is recognized and appreciated. You can ask the project sponsor or project champion to join one of your project team meetings to personally thank the team. If you want to recognize an individual, a personal call from the leader would be a great option as well. If an in-person Thank You cannot be arranged, you can ask the leader to send an email out to the team or to the organization recognizing the team. 
Personal Thank You
    Keep a supply of Thank You notes at your desk and when someone on one of your teams does something great, write a quick note thanking them for their effort. You will be amazed how much people appreciate a hand-written note. 

Celebration for Celebration’s Sake

 
Be very thoughtful in how you choose what you do and do not celebrate with your teams. Remember you want to reward behavior that you want to see repeated. Don’t fall into the trap of celebrating for celebration’s sake. Rewards and recognition should be used to recognized those who go above and beyond and exceed expectations. 
 
When you celebrate, be sure to communicate why you are celebrating and who specifically performed the activities that you want to celebrate. 
 
 
By recognizing and celebrating your team members, you can develop strong teams and building lasting relationships in your project teams and your organization. You will encourage the right behavior and build stronger teams for future success. end
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