With 2012 still in its infancy, articles still abound about New Year’s resolutions. Of course, most articles are about how often resolutions fail. In the most recent issue of Scientific American Mind, the article titled “The Secrets of Self Improvement” is no exception. The article does give quite a few suggestions about how to successfully pursue self-improvement and as I was reading them I couldn’t help but think about how the suggestions could also help projects. Projects are improvement initiatives after all, just more complicated.
When a company decides to pursue a change it usually involves a team. Still, properly applied, what motivates one person can motivate a team.
Four Steps to a Better Project:
1) Realistic Expectations
- Visualize your success along with the specific obstacles you will face.
- Avoid situations that trigger habits you want to break.
- Forgive yourself or your team if there is a slip up; keep moving forward.
2) Find What Motivates Your Team
- Think about how making this change will help the business become what it aspires to be.
- Try to come up with fun ways to work toward your goal.
- Imagine how achieving your aim might strengthen your relationship with your users, team and company leadership.
- Find a way to measure your progress and track your accomplishments.
3) Take Baby Steps
- Set short-term, achievable objectives that add up to big change.
4) Formulate Action Plans
- Prepare your team for specific situations: “If the code does not meet the needs of the users during testing the functional team will provide me with a detailed description of what the issue is via the issue tracker”
- Frame your intentions as positive actions.
- Picture your team carrying out the project plan.
(Adapted from Steps to a Better Self Marina Krakovsky, Scientific American Mind March/April 2012 pg 42)