Flatliner

In a previous post I presented the five dimensions of project success from Shenhar and Dvir’s seminal book ‘Reinventing Project Management’. I followed this up with several posts on how to define project efficiency, and about impact on the customer and there’s more to come as I work through all the dimensions.

Today I want to concentrate on the second dimension: Impact on the customer.

The five dimensions of project success

But first, let me recap the five dimensions so we know where we are:

  1. Project efficiency
  2. Impact on the customer
  3. Impact on the team
  4. Business and direct success
  5. Preparation for the future

Today’s topic, impact on the team, is about how the project affects the team and other members of the organization where the project takes place. This is important because the project is also an investment in organizational development, in learning and growth for everyone involved.

As Shenhar and Dvir writes:

Good project leaders energize and inspire their team members and make the project a memorable, exciting experience. Other projects may be remembered as demanding and exhaustive experiences.

Impact on the team is concerned with:

  • Team satisfaction
  • Team morale
  • Team member loyalty
    • To the team
    • To the organization
  • Team member retention (after the project is competed)
  • Team member learning (knowledge, skills, experience)
  • Team member growth (professional and/or managerial capabilities)
  • No burnout

Why this matters more than most people realize

I see a clear trend in the literature and in the opinions of leading figures in and out of the project management field towards increased respect for and appreciation of the softer side of management and employee-employer interactions.

A great example of the general trend is Jeremy Rifkin’s book “The Empathic Civilization”. A more direct reference for the management and project management arena is the great book by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer called ‘The Progress Principle.”

I have presented the progress principle in a more detailed post, but let me provide a quick snapshot.

The progress principle simply states that:

The single most important thing we can do to encourage outstanding performance, is to facilitate progress in day-to-day activities, even just small wins.

Progress is about completion, about getting visible and credible proof that something has been accomplished. Think of progress as:

  • Small wins
  • Breakthroughs
  • Any forward movement
  • Completion of a goal or deliverable

The corollary to this is to avoid any real or perceived setbacks. In addition, we want to focus on improving or strengthening the things that support the achievement of progress and reducing or eliminating anything that inhibits or prevents progress.

In addition to the above, it makes sense to look at the investment in the work force and ways projects can support learning and growth both in individual competencies and in team competencies.

Scorecard for impact on the team

If impact on the team is important, it stands to reason that the project should have specific goals around this.

In fact, we can create a very similar assessment instrument for impact on the team as presented for impact on the customer.

I make a distinction here between ‘should’, ‘can’ and ‘will’ because we may have high aspirations, but at the same time we also have to realize that we face real life constraints.

Category How should this project impact the team if we faced no constraints How canthis project impact the team? How willthis project impact the team? How can we measurethe actual impact?
Team satisfaction
Team morale
Team member loyalty
Team member retention (after the project is competed)
Team member learning (knowledge, skills, experience)
Team member growth (professional and/or managerial capabilities)
No burnout

 

The above table is useful to work through the options and ideas until we can land on the practical and concrete goals in the ‘can’ column and the specific measures. It’s these two columns it makes most sense to go forward with.

I recommend that scorecards for the five respective project success dimensions be included in the project charter up front and then in the project closure report at the end where we summarize the outcome of the project and present what was actually accomplished.

dot How to define impact on the team, a dimension of project success