Rallying support within your Project Team for early-stage projects can sometimes be difficult. Early-stage projects can either look like prime opportunities for growth or career disasters in the making—it all depends on how the organization as a whole views unapproved projects and what steps the Project Team takes to ensure that every project offers a chance for success. We’ve put together some tips to keep your team jazzed about the projects coming down the pipeline.
Getting team members on board. If a project has a natural group of team members who should be involved, often because of expertise needed, or the project’s type, size, or timing, then your selection process will be straightforward. For less straightforward projects, you’ll need to assign team members or ask for volunteers. Carefully match members against the project’s requirements and who stands to learn the most through their participation. Even if the project doesn’t get a green light, your team will have gained valuable expertise.
Maintaining team enthusiasm. Your team’s zeal for a project may wane for a number of reasons, including an approval process that’s longer than expected, a string of challenges to the project’s approval, and data gathered as part of the submittal process that is disappointing and could derail the project’s ultimate fate. Delays are probably the most difficult to deal with, as they’re often out of your Project Team’s hands. Focus team members’ attention onto other projects during these slow periods, so they can come back to their early-stage projects with renewed enthusiasm. Challenges to the project should be seen as opportunities to hone your team’s persuasion and presentations skills. Even disappointing data points offer crucial learning opportunities—the ability to objectively evaluate data and determine when anticipated returns aren’t worth a project’s costs will be a useful skill throughout any PM’s career.