10 Simple Ways to Thank Your Project Team

Your project team has just completed a major project or hit a significant milestone. The team members have worked hard and put in the extra hours to bring in another successful project. So, how do you thank your project team? What ways will you let them know you care?

thank you card

Thank You Card

Practical Ways to Thank Your Project Team

1. Send a hand written thank-you note. I recently saw a Thank-You card pinned to someone’s cubicle wall. The card was dated five years earlier. Why would someone keep a card that long? Hand-written notes are a rare commodity in our digital age. Furthermore, tangible notes may be displayed and savored.

2. Send a thank-you photo card. Take a photo or two, create a photo card, and mail the cards to your team members.

3. Take your team to lunch. If your project budget allows, take your team out for lunch after the completion of a major milestone or completion of the project. During lunch, share your thoughts and acknowledge each team member’s contributions. Additionally, reinforce the project’s significance to the company’s strategic vision.

project team

Project Team

“What I have discovered is that as I do the work of personalizing recognitions into the work of my team, I become a more empathic and involved leader in the process.” –Claire Jenkins

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Taking Action After a Project Management Symposium

You've just invested your precious time in a project management symposium, conference, or training class. Congratulations on being proactive in your project management development. But how can you take action after a symposium to obtain the full benefits of your learning?

Project Management Symposium

Project Management Symposium

Why You Should Take Action Soon?

Here's the problem we all face when attending a project management symposium. Things at work don't stop, do they? More emails and voicemails have arrived. New problems have popped up. It can take days to recover.

But, if we fail to take action from the symposium soon, we forget what we've learned. Our motivation to change wains. And our personal growth—that we so badly want—does not occur.

It's frustrating, isn't it? You've gained some new knowledge to advance your career. How can you review and reinforce your learning? What's the trick of transforming your newly gained knowledge into powerful skills?

"Don't fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today." —Michael Hyatt

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9 Great Excuses Not to Mature as a Project Manager

If you are reading this it means that you're struggling to mature as a project manager. You watch others get their certifications. You see more junior project managers getting the promotions. Your peers are getting the salary increases. Why not you? 

List of excuses

What are your excuses?

Just because you have practiced project management for a long time does not mean that you are getting better. Perhaps you have this gnawing feeling deep down inside that you aren't putting in the effort to mature as a project manager.

And it's frustrating because you are capable of more...way more!

We must not allow our excuses to hold us hostage. Examine them closely.

Furthermore, let's up our game, serve others, and reach our greatest potential.

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8 Powerful Ways to Manage Project Quality

Why is project quality often neglected? Well, it's hard to manage things we don't understand. And quality seems to be an esoteric concept to many people. Therefore, let's define quality and discuss some practical ways to manage project quality.

Project team focused on quality

Project team focused on quality

Quality Management Tips

1. Make quality management pragmatic. Many people do not invest appropriate effort towards quality because they do not understand it. The Project Management Institute defines quality as “conformance to requirements and fitness of use.” According to this definition, quality comes through clearly defining and meeting the requirements of the users and stakeholders.

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How to Become the Most Compelling Project Manager You Will Ever Know

Every project is a story. Projects begin and end. Plots and subplots abound. Interesting characters interact and react, with good and evil motives. Are you a compelling project manager who commands the ship?

10 Attributes of a Compelling Project Manager

Some project managers act in boring and predictable manners. Others capture and hold your attention. You can't wait to see the next chapter. What makes some project leaders so captivating and believable?

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How to Improve Interpersonal Project Management Skills

Think of the project managers you admire most. Often, these are individuals who possess more than the technical skills such as developing project schedules and performing risk analysis. These project managers have strong interpersonal project management skills. So, what are interpersonal skills? Why are they important? And, how can we improve these critical skills?

picture of project manager communicating to a team

Project Manager Facilitating a Project Meeting

What are Interpersonal Project Management Skills

Interpersonal skills are relational and communication skills. They are soft skills, but that does not mean they are not important. Seth Godin argues that these should be called real skills -- these skills are critical to our success.

Imagine a project team with strong-willed individuals who battled one another over a buy vs. build decision. Sally, a long-time employee and senior developer, made a case for leveraging the tools and experience of the company to build a solution. John, an operational manager said, "We don't have time to develop a solution; our competition is already ahead of us. Let's buy and implement a commercial solution as soon as possible." How would you have handled the relational and communication aspects of this conflict?

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How to Master Meeting Minutes

Do you and your team members lose track of the things you discussed in your project meetings? Who was to complete that action item? Who owns that risk? What did we decide to do? Sound familiar? Let's talk about how to master meeting minutes.

Scribe typing meeting minutes

When I published my blog post entitled Four Meeting Problems, I received several questions about recording minutes. Questions included:

  • Who should scribe?
  • What makes a good scribe?
  • What should be included in the minutes?
  • How do you ensure the minutes are accurate?
  • Where should we store minutes?

Allow me to share a few tips. I am reminded of George Orwell's comment: "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." For both newbies as well as experienced project managers, it is good to get back to the basics.

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6 Tools and Techniques for Controlling Risks

Changes in project risks are inevitable. As a project progresses, the probability and impact of current risks change, new risks emerge, and residual risks may increase or decrease. What tools and techniques can project managers use for controlling risks and getting the results they are looking for?

Tool box with tools

Allow me to introduce you to two project managers—Tom and Susan. Tom started his project with a risk identification exercise with several stakeholders resulting in a list of 77 risks. He entered these risks into an Excel spreadsheet and stored the file in his project repository (and never looked at it again).

Susan, on the other hand, facilitated an early risk identification workshop. She periodically met with her team to review current risks and used additional techniques to identify new risks. In these risk review sessions, the team discussed the effectiveness of the risk responses and the risk management processes.

Which team do you think had the greatest chance of meeting their project objectives? Yes, Susan’s team wins the day, hands down.

Let’s look at six tools and techniques recommended in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) 5th Edition for controlling risks. 

PMBOK 6th Edition

The PMBOK 6th Edition changed the process name of "Control Risks" to "Monitor Risks."


"Monitor Risks is the process of monitoring the implementation of agreed-upon risk response plans, tracking identified risks, identifying and analyzing new risks, and evaluating risk process effectiveness throughout the project."


Read my articles: 

Risk Control Tools and Techniques

1. Risk reassessment

Risk reassessments involve the following activities:

  • Identifying new risks
  • Evaluating current risks
  • Evaluating the risk management processes
  • Closing risks 

2. Risk audit

Project teams may have defined risk responses. The question is—“Are the responses effective?” Project managers facilitate risk audits to examine the effectiveness of the risk responses and to determine whether changes are required. The team also examines the processes to identify, evaluate, respond to, and control risks.

3. Variance and trend analysis

As with many control processes, we now look for variances between the schedule and cost baselines and the actual results. When we the variances are increasing, there is increased uncertainty and risk. Watch the trends and respond before the situation gets out of hand.

4. Technical performance measurement

Imagine that you are working on a software development project and that the functional requirements have been developed. You’ve planned to deliver functions at a point in time—at the end of the fourth sprint, at the end of phase 1, or a milestone. The technical performance measurement is a measurement of the technical accomplishments.

5. Reserve analysis

During the cost planning, the contingency and management reserves are added to the project budget as needed. As risks occur, the reserves may decrease. Depending on how your organization handles reserves and your risk management plan, project managers may request more reserves when inadequate.

6. Meetings

Project managers should be deliberate risk managers. Engage your team members and appropriate stakeholders in meetings to facilitate the risk management processes. For these meetings, be sure to:

  • Distribute an agenda with a clearly stated purpose
  • Invite the appropriate team members and stakeholders
  • Use appropriate tools and techniques
  • Distribute meeting minutes containing decisions, action items, issues, and risks 

Finish the Drill

Don’t be like Tom who started his risk management with a bang and quickly fizzled. The best project managers identify, evaluate, and respond to risks. And they regularly perform the control activities to keep the project healthy.

Hey, before you go, keep in mind—you can't control risks until you first identify risks. Click here to discover 7 ways to identify project risks.

Evaluating Risks Using Qualitative Risk Analysis

Have you ever endured a project meeting where you spent hours evaluating risks? Afterward, team members walked down the hall saying, “What a waste of time! Now I can get back to the real work.” Today, let’s discuss the use of qualitative risk analysis to get you back on track.

What causes this frustration? First, the evaluation process may not fit the project – too complex for simple projects or deficient for large, complex projects. Second, the process may not fit the maturity level of the project team. Third, team members view the process as burdensome with little value.

Business people in a meeting analyzing content

Qualitative Risk Analysis

What is Risk Evaluation?

Risk evaluation is the process to determine the significance of each risk. There are two ways to evaluate risks:

  1. Qualitative Risk Analysis. Qualitative analysis such as rating probability and impact should always be performed. This allows you to quickly prioritize and rank your risks.
  2. Quantitative Risk Analysis. Quantitative analysis is not always performed. This analysis requires more time but provides more data to aid in making decisions. (We will cover quantitative evaluations in another post.)

Watch this YouTube Video: Qualitative and Quantitative Risk Analysis: What’s the Difference?

Watch this YouTube Video: Two Simple Methods to Analyze Project Risks Qualitatively

Why Evaluate/Prioritize Project Risks?

You cannot respond to all risks, neither should you. Prioritization is a way to deal with competing demands. This aids in determining where you will spend your limited time and effort.

We evaluate in order:

  •  To have the greatest impact. Eighty percent of the impact will come from twenty percent of the risks. What are the vital few things that we should do that will have the greatest impact on minimizing threats and maximizing opportunities?
  •  To respond wisely and appropriately. The goal of evaluating risks is to discriminate between one risk and another. This aids us in determining the amount of effort to invest in developing response plans.
  •  To assign resources suitably. Assign your most skilled, knowledgeable resources to the projects with the greatest risk.
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What is Project Risk?

If you say the word “risk” to ten people, each person may think of something different— insurance, threats, investments, bets, or potential loss. As we manage project teams, it's critical that you and your team members have a common understanding of what project risk means. Otherwise, people will be confused by your risk management efforts.

what is project risk?

It is no wonder that there is so much confusion about the meaning of risk. Many credible sources provide conflicting definitions. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines risk as “the possibility of loss or injury: peril.”

Risk management standards, guides, and methodologies define risk in many different ways. Some include the possibility of positive risks or opportunities; others do not.

rocket

Risk - an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives. —PMBOK 6th Edition

As projects start, project managers should work with the project sponsor and key stakeholders to clarify the project objectives or goals. Once the objectives are clear, share how risk management can help to achieve the objectives. Furthermore, provide concrete examples that are relevant to the project at hand.

Next, agree on a definition for project risk. I suggest the risk definition from the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

PMBOK Definition of Project Risk

So, here is the PMBOK definition of risk - an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives (such as scope, schedule, cost, and quality). Let’s break down this definition of risk:

  • Uncertain event or condition. Risks involve uncertainty. When identifying risks, I ask teams to focus primarily on the uncertain events or conditions that may have the greatest impact on the project, not the trivial things.
  • If it occurs. The uncertain event or condition may or may not occur. If a threat occurs, it becomes an issue or problem. If an opportunity occurs, it becomes a benefit. So, risks are things that may occur; issues and benefits are things that have occurred.
  • Positive effect. When I share the PMBOK’s definition of risk, I ask if anything seems strange about the definition. Many people say it seems odd that risk can have a positive effect. I provide examples of how “opportunities” or up-side risks can help achieve the project objectives.
  • Negative effect. I do not normally have to spend much time on the negative effect. This is how most people think of risk. I introduce the term “threat” for the downside risks.
  • Project objectives. To bring value to the risk management processes, keep your teams focused on project objectives such as scope, schedule, cost, and quality. The heart of risk management is helping your sponsor and team to achieve their objectives.
  • Minimizing the use of the term risk. Because the term “risk” is often misunderstood, I use the terms threats and opportunities more often. If I am leading an exercise to identify risks, I will ask the participants to identify threats or potential problems first. Then I ask the participants to identify opportunities or potential benefits to the project.

What About Project Opportunities?

Some people argue that including positive effects in the definition creates confusion. If you decide to leave out the positive effects in the definition, consider how you and your team can identify and seize significant opportunities.

The important thing is to discuss and get agreement with your team about how to define risk. Include the definition in your Risk Management Plan. Clear communication will position your team for greater achievement.