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? rbrendbTtLLSVlUPPCNkAner@ChacthFxWKdRwnLylOCDoCanyon.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:

Example of an unsecured driver-side floor mat trapping the accelerator pedal in a 2007 Toyota Lexus ES350Risk Management Risk: I
Risk Management Risk is the risk that a particular risk management plan is deficient. It's often overlooked, and therefore often unmitigated. We can reduce this risk by applying some simple procedures.
The Japanese battleship Yamato during machinery trials 20 October 1941Durable Agreements
People at work often make agreements in which they commit to cooperate — to share resources, to assist each other, or not to harm each other. Some agreements work. Some don't. What makes agreements durable?
President Harry S. Truman, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, meeting at Wake Island, 14 October 1950Ground Level Sources of Scope Creep
We usually think of scope creep as having been induced by managerial decisions. And most often, it probably is. But most project team members — and others as well — can contribute to the problem.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur (left) and Willie Keeler (right)Ten Approaches to Managing Project Risks: II
Managing risk entails coping with unwanted events that might or might not happen, and which can be costly if they do happen. Here's Part II of our exploration of coping strategies for unwanted events.
Firefighter lighting grass using a drip torchHow to Get Out of Firefighting Mode: I
When new problems pop up one after the other, we describe our response as "firefighting." We move from fire to fire, putting out flames. How can we end the madness?

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

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

The future site of 2 World Trade Center as it appeared in 2013Coming October 5: Downscoping Under Pressure: I
When projects overrun their budgets and/or schedules, we sometimes "downscope" to save time and money. The tactic can succeed — and fail. Three common anti-patterns involve politics, the sunk cost effect, and cognitive biases that distort estimates. Available here and by RSS on October 5.
A hummingbird feeding on the nectar of a flowerAnd on October 12: Downscoping Under Pressure: II
We sometimes "downscope" projects to bring them back on budget and schedule when they're headed for overruns. Downscoping doesn't always work. Cognitive biases like the sunk cost effect and confirmation bias can distort decisions about how to downscope. Available here and by RSS on October 12.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrendbTtLLSVlUPPCNkAner@ChacthFxWKdRwnLylOCDoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, 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 500-1000 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet 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.
Technical Debt for Policymakers BlogMy blog, Technical Debt for Policymakers, offers resources, insights, and conversations of interest to policymakers who are concerned with managing technical debt within their organizations. Get the millstone of technical debt off the neck of your organization!
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.
If your teams don't yet consistently achieve state-of-the-art teamwork, check out this catalog. Help is just a few clicks/taps away!