Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 1, Issue 18;   May 2, 2001: Make a Project Family Album

Make a Project Family Album

by

Like a traditional family album, a project family album has pictures of people, places, and events. It builds connections, helps tie the team together, and it can be as much fun to look through as it is to create.

Working closely with colleagues for months or years, we experience many of the same kinds of emotions as we do in families — frustration, happiness, pain, and joy. The joy that a family album provides at home is just as wonderful in a project. One difference — since so many project teams are geographically dispersed, a physical album doesn't share well. Put it on the Intranet.

The project family album
helps people who work
at a distance to get
to know each other
The little things in life knit us together. Include pictures of the test team on their weekly sushi outing, or the team leads at their pizza lunch. If Phil is known for a new mobile in his cubicle every month, include pictures of the monthly mobile. If Marian is known for the Internet humor she posts on her door, ask her to archive it to the album too. Include a map of the office or cube locations of all the team members at your site. If the buzz today is about the grotesque painting that appeared in the lobby last week in Greenville, put a picture of it in the album, so other parts of the team can see what everyone is talking about. Don't forget captions and interpretive paragraphs — they can be more fun than the photos.

Your album can be a real organizational asset, as it contributes to a positive working culture. Here are just a few ways:

Better connections
In dispersed teams, some people never actually meet in person. The project family album helps people who work at a distance to get to know each other. It's surprising how much it helps to know what people look like if your only experience of them is through telephone or email.
The inaccessible cubicles at Diamond Square
Great memories
If your project has a kickoff party, a release party, or just a Friday lunch, get snaps of people having a good time together. These images are especially amusing if the parties have themes. And months later, they'll take you back to some fun times.
Productive meetings
When a dispersed team does meet, and people who have never met have to work together, they'll do better if they've had access to a project family album. They will already know what the players look like, what the environment looks like, and what the conference rooms and local lunch places look like. All of this helps smooth out the meetings for the people who come from other sites.
Pictorial history
For large projects, it can be difficult to put names and faces together, especially after the project ends. But later on, when you want to staff your next project, the project family album can help refresh your memory.

There are powerful business reasons for making an album, but most important, it's just plain fun. Go to top Top  Next issue: Dealing with Your Own Anger  Next Issue

Rick BrennerThe article you've been reading is an archived issue of Point Lookout, my weekly newsletter. I've been publishing it since January, 2001, free to all subscribers, over the Web, and via RSS. You can help keep it free by donating either as an individual or as an organization. You'll receive in return my sincere thanks — and the comfort of knowing that you've helped to propagate insights and perspectives that can help make our workplaces a little more human-friendly. More

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenTaxhBUSQgkVkAauDner@ChacXqECpWTKBAEbIJjnoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Project Management:

FootprintsStatus Risk and Risk Status
One often-neglected project risk is the risk of inaccurately reported status. That shouldn't be surprising, because we often fail to report the status of the project's risks, as well. What can we do to better manage status risk and risk status?
Emergency extrication trainingEmergency Problem Solving
In emergencies, group problem solving is unusually challenging, especially if lives, careers, or companies depend on finding a solution immediately. Here are some tips for members of teams that are solving problems in emergencies.
Damage to the Interstate 10 Twin Bridge across Lake PontchartrainManaging Risk Revision
Prudent risk management begins by accepting the possibility that unpleasant events might actually happen. But when organizations try to achieve goals that are a bit out of reach, they're often tempted to stretch resources by revising or denying risks. Here's a tactic for managing risk revision.
Rapids in a northern streamThe Risks of Too Many Projects: I
Some organizations try to run too many development projects at once. Whether developing new offerings, or working to improve the organization itself, taking on too many projects can defocus the organization and depress performance.
Astronauts Musgrave and Hoffman install corrective optics during the Hubble Telescope's Service Mission 1How We Waste Time: I
Time is the one workplace resource that's evenly distributed. Everyone gets exactly the same share, but some use it more wisely than others. Here's Part I of a little catalog of ways we waste time.

See also Project Management and Virtual and Global Teams for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Cargo containers at a port of entryComing May 31: Unresponsive Suppliers: III
When suppliers have a customer orientation, we can usually depend on them. But government suppliers are a special case. Available here and by RSS on May 31.
A blue peacock of IndiaAnd on June 7: The Knowledge One-Upmanship Game
The Knowledge One-Upmanship Game is a pattern of group behavior in the form of a contest to determine which player knows the most arcane fact. It can seem like innocent fun, but it can disrupt a team's ability to collaborate. Available here and by RSS on June 7.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenskVOxkMLAzYJcbjNner@ChacdzYMTlcvfDpeiWuDoCanyon.com or (617) 491-6289, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

Creating High Performance Virtual Teams
Many Creating High Performance Virtual Teamspeople experience virtual teams as awkward, slow, and sometimes frustrating. Even when most team members hail from the same nation or culture, and even when they all speak the same language, geographic dispersion or the presence of employees from multiple enterprises is often enough to exclude all possibility of high performance. The problem is that we lead, manage, and support virtual teams in ways that are too much like the way we lead, manage, and support co-located teams. In this program, Rick Brenner shows you how to change your approach to leading, managing, and supporting virtual teams to achieve high performance using Simons' Four Spans model of high performance. Read more about this program. Here's an upcoming date for this program:

The Race to the South Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers
On 14The Race to the Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to organizational leaders, business analysts, project sponsors, and project managers, the story is fascinating. Lessons abound. Read more about this program. Here's an upcoming date for this program:

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Follow me at Google+ or share a post Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
21st Century Business TravelAre your business trips long chains of stressful misadventures? Have you ever wondered if there's a better way to get from here to there relaxed and refreshed? First class travel is one alternative, but you can do almost as well (without the high costs) if you know the tricks of the masters of 21st-century e-enabled business travel…
Reader Comments About My Newsletter
A sampling:
  • Your stuff is brilliant! Thank you!
  • You and Scott Adams both secretly work here, right?
  • I really enjoy my weekly newsletters. I appreciate the quick read.
  • A sort of Dr. Phil for Management!
  • …extremely accurate, inspiring and applicable to day-to-day … invaluable.
  • More
52 Tips for Leaders of Project-Oriented OrganizationsAre your project teams plagued by turnover, burnout, and high defect rates? Turn your culture around.
101 Tips for Managing ConflictFed up with tense, explosive meetings? Are you the target of a bully? Learn how to make peace with conflict.
Ebooks, booklets and tip books on project management, conflict, writing email, effective meetings and more.
Comprehensive collection of all e-books and e-bookletsSave a bundle and even more important save time! Order the Combo Package and download all ebooks and tips books at once.