“An awesome project team” can mean different things depending on whose eyes you are looking through. It seems that we are always looking through the eyes of the customer when we think of great project teams. It was great because it got the work done on time, on budget and on scope. We succeeded.
But what about the project teams through the eyes of the team members? Project managers, project leaders and managers of all types should be able to put themselves in the position of their team members and think about their response to the question “What makes an awesome project team?”
This topic came up this past weekend at a social event when I ran into someone who often works for project managers doing project work. The conversation covered project management stuff: the PMI, the latest trends in the industry, how to get into the business. But then I asked her the question “When you are working on a project team what makes for a great experience?”. (I didn’t tell her that her response might become the base of my next blog post).
She provided me with three key ingredients that she looks for in the project work she does:
- The work is good for her career
- The work is rewarding
- The work is fun
The work is good for her career
During and after every project she looks back and asks herself “what did that work do for my career?” or “What did I learn that can contribute to my future in this area? Was I challenged to do things that I was uncomfortable doing? Did I grow professionally?”
The work was rewarding.
Our project work will finish typically in two different ways: we succeeded or we failed. Both have many different shades and frankly the outcome of success and or failure can vary dramatically. For her, the work can be rewarding in either case. Success in doing well is obviously rewarding for all – or it should be. But even failure can be rewarding if we can take away lessons learned they can make us better tomorrow.
The work was fun.
She finished by stating the obvious. She has to look forward to coming into work every day and a big part of that is the fun factor. It’s the knowledge that you can laugh sometime during the day, you are working with really fun people and that it will not be all about work every day. This last piece is critical to making the project work that she does a great experience.
So for every project manager out there and every team manager and every future manager I encourage us to listen to my new friend or put ourselves in the seats of our project team members and think about how we can build awesome project teams going forward.
Next week, we look at what we can do to make working on our project teams an awesome experience.