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Performance management is well and truly understood in a lot of established organisations;  call it performance reviews, peer-to-peer reviews or 360 degree feedback loops, it is the organisation method to ensure team motivation and performance. Such performance measurement techniques are driven by extrinsic or financial rewards. In other terms, we as individuals tool for a tangible reward and we can often be focused on the bottom line. While needed and valuable, does this expectation link with the project expectations? The answer to this is complex but their can often be a disconnect between the two.

Very often, a project needs to lead with initiatives to ensure that motivation and performance is maintained. It is essential to maintain initial efficiency and effectiveness right throughout the life of the project team. Put is another way, a project should focus on establishing its own incentives through the management of expectations. Let me give an example, a simple expectation from an individual may be to reduce the level of paperwork that he / she may have to do. Well why not, as a project manager, make this happen. If the commitment is made, then the expectation is set and from this can lead to an increased level of engagement and performance. Simple in context but can be effective in reality.

From this project expectancy / engagement approach, a method of maintaining team efficiency and performance is the main objective. This objective can often be realized through the following elements:

  • Each team member assesses their needs and desires.
  • The team member, with the project manager, work together to understand how these desires / needs can be meet within the project an most importantly whether they can be met.
  • Having a desire or need doesn’t always mean it will be met and this must be understood at the start rather a world of fake promises.
  • Team member efforts coupled with their perceived role and their complimentary skills are used to provide a level of performance that will complete the desired objectives.
  • The project manager will be aware of the level of effort and performance and ensures that the intrinsic (a compliment) or extrinsic (pay increase) rewards are available.
  • This ultimately results in team and individual satisfaction as the end results are compared with the team member’s initial desires in order to determine that they have been achieved.

The team members can guide their own needs and desires while still maintaining the completion of the project objectives.

This continually results in the team members performing to the optimum of their abilities to achieve their own needs while gaining rewards and satisfaction and still meeting project objective. Essentially, the following is proposed in to achieve the desired levels of performance and effectiveness:

  • Each team member can work towards their own goals while still meeting the objectives of the team.
  • The skills and make-up of the team is a complimentary one. Each member contributes different qualities. Hence, each member can direct the project based on what qualities or roles that they are best suited to a particular task.
  • The effort applied to the task results is the desired performance. Hence performance is rewarded both intrinsically and extrinsically.
  • Job satisfaction is monitored and based on the person perception of job satisfaction rather that the project manager perception

So with these steps, is there a reason for project managers to work and understand expectations. Of course there is and this is evident in the projects we work on but don’t make it a formality, make it a passion.

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