Dear Project Team Members

Filed under Becoming a PM | Posted by MMeloni

team working together edited

As a project manager, there are probably some things you would like your team members to know. When you first started managing projects you thought some of these points were fairly obvious. Now you realize the truth. If you want your team members to know something you should tell them. If you expect your team members to act in a certain way or to follow specific guidelines, you should tell them. Here is a letter to team members that might just cover some of your key points. If not, use it as food for thought and consider, “What do you want your team members to know and how will you tell them?”

Dear Team Members,

Sometimes you probably wonder, “What does my project manager want from me?” Below are some points for your consideration:

1) Work that has not started is 0% complete. It is not 7% complete or ‘in the works’ or in progress or looking good. We get that you hate it when you are not able to start something as scheduled. Tell it like it is and together we can deal with it. Which leads to…

2) Status reports are nonfiction, not creative writing. Your status report is meant to document the true nature of your work on the project. Not how you want things to be or not how you think things will be in a few days. Once again, tell it like it is and together we can deal with it.

3) If you are going to be late with your work, tell us as soon as you know. That way we can plan around it. Waiting until the deadline to tell us you will miss the deadline is so uncool.

4) Don’t assume we know something. If there is something important that we should know about our work, tell us. If we already know that is great. Your perspective is helpful and hearing it from you might help us understand more about why this particular thing is important. If we were psychic, we would have the winning lottery numbers. But of course we would still work, because we are just that dedicated.

5) If you see an issue on the horizon, give us a heads-up. Maybe it will turn into nothing, but maybe it won’t. We really do not like to hear you say, “I knew that would happen.” Especially, if you did not share your insight with us.

6) We want you to enjoy your days off and your vacation time. We just want you to let us know in advance. We prefer that you don’t take off in the middle of a major implementation. We don’t like to find out that you are off from your email auto-responder or your voicemail. We are funny like that.

7) If you have preferences about how we can best work with you, tell us. If you need to avoid afternoon meetings because you pick your son or daughter up from school, we want to support you in that. If you prefer texts to emails, we will try to accommodate you. We can’t promise you that we will never ask you to work overtime or that we will never ask you to attend meetings. But the more we understand about your preferences the more we can seek to provide you a more positive working environment.

8)The truth is, we appreciate you, we know you work hard and when we can we want to make you happy that you are on our project team.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to our continued working relationship.

With respect,
Your Project Managers

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2 thoughts on “Dear Project Team Members

  1. Ali

    Great article, Margaret.

    Points 3 and 4 are incredibly under rated! Especially in client-facing or multi-organisational projects, the fear of ‘looking bad’ seems to drive some PMs (or those providing updates to the PMs) to hold on to crucial delay information until as late as possible – perhaps with the intention of success at the 11th hour, but in any event, not helpful for the project.

    “Knowledge assumption” is also an issue on larger scale projects, or those with many SMEs: their view of the world is obvious – in their minds! Speaking from a technical background, devleopers and IT specialists often need their information coaxing out of them: certainly a driver for developing those working relationships, and ensuring the individuals contributing know what impacts their deliverables have.

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