Projects that are “technically” successful are the worst.
I’m not talking about successful projects in general. I’m referring to projects that earn the right to have the word “technically” stuffed in front of them to make it clear that while technically speaking, the project was a success, there was a heavy price paid by the people involved in the project.
Success at this level enables leaders to tout achievements at an organizational level, while employees feel burned out and maybe even taken advantage of in the process.
Did the project end on time? Sure.
Did it meet budget? Yes.
Did it deliver the specifications it was intended to? Indeed.
Did employees pay a price that will likely be passed on to you in the form of burnout, disengagement, and turnover? Indubitably.
That’s why it’s on you, the project manager or sponsor, to ensure that you aren’t leaving the project team to fend for themselves. It’s important to match the enthusiasm and promise of a new project with consistent, reliable support when the going gets tough.
It’s not enough to wait until the project is over to do a “lessons learned” session. By then, the damage is done, and enthusiasm for taking part in making the next project better is all but lost.
Intervene early. Find out what is working, and what is not.
Make it easy to give and receive feedback.
You will catch problems before they become unmanageable, and hopefully, save your team from feeling like they got forgotten in the process.