After the turkey has been consumed and the thanks shared around the table there is a lull in the frantic storm.The days of planning, preparing, cleaning, and cooking are crazy busy and yet there is a sense of purpose, a sincere drive to make this the best Thanksgiving ever. The day arrives and the day seems to fly by and before you know it Thanksgiving 2009 is done. The question is now what do we have to look forward to?
This is a similar scenario that is played out in organizations. You have a team that is focused on a project and they are motivated to deliver the end deliverables and day-to-day they are consumed by timelines, resources, and budgets, oh my! But once the deliverables are completed and the project is closed out there is typically a lull. The common focus and drive that existed for the team no longer exists. So how do you keep a team that was humming along motivated during the down times?
Here are a couple of tips:
Project Close Out Meeting
During a project things are hectic and busy so take some time to reflect once the project is complete. Conduct a lessons learned meeting to capture what worked well, what are some areas of opportunities, what skills were in high demand, what were the surprises, and what do you want to remember for the future. Going through this type of exercise allows for closure and celebration.
It’s Ok to Regroup and Reenergize
Give the team permission to reenergize – it is ok to take time between projects to regroup, this could mean cleaning and filing all of the piled up papers on one’s desk or reconnecting with colleagues who were not on the project. It is important to pull up from the project and look at the big picture again and remember that there is life after a project and to regroup and reenergize before the next project begins.
Share With Your Team What’s Coming Up
It is important that the team knows what is coming up for projects so if there is anything that they would really like to work on they know about it early enough to let you know in advance of the project starting. This gives the team something to look forward to and something to strive for if they know there are some projects coming up that may tap into their skills, talents, and passions.
These are just a few tips that will help a manager or project manager survive project withdrawal syndrome. Just like we survive Thanksgiving withdrawal by looking forward to the Holiday Season, great teams will survive project withdrawal by looking forward to what is on the horizon.