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 otherThe 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.
- 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.
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More articles on Project Management:
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In this first part of our survey of teamwork myths, we examine two myths about forming teams.
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Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming July 22: Red Flags: I
- When we finally admit to ourselves that a collaborative effort is in serious trouble, we sometimes recall that we had noticed several "red flags" early enough to take action. Toxic conflict and voluntary turnover are two examples. Available here and by RSS on July 22.
- And on July 29: Red Flags: II
- When we find clear evidence of serious problems in a project or other collaboration, we sometimes realize that we had overlooked several "red flags" that had foretold trouble. In this Part II of our review of red flags, we consider communication patterns that are useful indicators of future problems. Available here and by RSS on July 29.
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