Don’t look back, the motivational poster read, that’s not the way you’re going. ‘Bull!’ I thought. ‘Look back to see how far you’ve come.’
Straw poll: hands up if you have the luxury of celebrating the end of a successful project? I don’t mean a ‘sort of farewell drinks’ before you move onto the next project, I mean a real knees-up: not quite a ticker-tape parade but something that has the same effect on your project team. Hmm, I thought so. Not many.
Project managers often hand over the ‘baby’ and move onto the next project without so much as the popping of a champagne bottle. Most of you would be delighted with a simple evening at the pub, so low-key are most end-of-project celebrations. Perhaps the project budget came down to the wire, or you’re all just so exhausted after closing out that a night out sounds energy-sapping.
I’ve often written about the importance of putting together lessons learnt after completing a project, as this will assist your project team and/or your client in future projects. Celebration is just as important to recognise the challenges and the triumphs, to affirm achievement and progress. It emphasises bonds within the project and is an excellent way of promoting the success of the project to your client, which leads to an enhanced reputation, more work, and better relationships with stakeholders.
The problem is, many project managers are not very good at stepping forward like this, preferring to stay behind the scenes. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate without blowing your own trumpet: enter awards, have a party, send ‘thank you’ gifts to your team and your stakeholders. You’re all happy it’s over (in a good way), let loose.
Look back to acknowledge how far you’ve come. And then move forward with the confidence that that affords.