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How to inspire people and keep people motivated on a project

Project Management Motivation

What exactly is project management? Project management initially involves identifying the basic components of a project, setting a realistic timeline, and establishing a project team. As the project progresses the Project Manager has to document the project details, assess the progress of the project, make sure project success, and ensure everyone lives up to the expectations of all the team members.

Each phase of a project is defined by project management processes, such as:

  • Definition of goals and objectives

  • Preparation of resources

  • Scheduling and authorization of tasks

  • Testing and verification of programs and systems

  • Revision of plans and documents

  • Reporting

Project management is an organised series of processes designed to ensure that all the team members, including you, work together to complete the project on time, within the deadline. And for a project to succeed, the most important element is the motivation of the team. Project Management Motivation can be effectively described as the internal energy or enthusiasm that is necessary to make the team strive for its assigned tasks. It can be defined as a state of mind, where a person feels energized, enthusiastic, motivated, optimistic, and focused towards their assigned tasks. Project Management Motivation begins in the Project Management Team itself where each member's level of motivation is determined by his or her individual personality. In order to effectively manage projects, Project Managers need to build a positive and consistent relationship with the whole team. This relationship is built on the basis of trust and understanding. Both managers and team members must be able to self-evaluate and self-correct when things do not go according to plan. Each time the project schedule is adjusted, each time a new task is added, each time someone is excluded from a project, each time a change is implemented - all these processes, even the smallest changes, require a degree of motivation from both managers and the rest of the team. However, effective Project Management Motivation requires the presence of a number of other key components.

Consistent recognition

Recognition is the most important component of effective Project Management Motivation. Once a team member feels that her input is valuable and that she is valued by the team, she will be much more likely to stay motivated within the project for the long term. A good Project Manager should take the time to recognise and reward those individuals who exhibit the qualities of Project Management Motivation.

Rewards might be small things that can increase a person's morale, such as additional time off, or some other simple token of recognition. But however you wish to acknowledge good work, we know that recognition is one of the highest motivators, particularly when someone has gone above and beyond. Acknowledgement of this contribution should be highlighted, and they should be encouraged to report any lessons they learnt from this experience to the rest of the team. All team members should be encouraged at every stage of the project to do their best and consider their individual actions on the project as a whole. When people know that their contribution will be valued, they're much more likely to put in the extra effort required to complete the project. This will result in the work getting done faster because of increased focus and energy that the members of the team develop.

Awareness of team variation

Team variation is the underlying factor behind many problems in Project Management. A diverse team of individuals has a variety of motivational needs. Some are motivated by financial incentives; others by personal rewards; and others still may have an emotional need to prove their worth. The bottom line is that Project Management needs to recognise the different needs of diverse teams and be able to adjust Project Management processes accordingly.

Communication and feedback

Effective Project Management Motivation involves not only good communication skills, but also good listening skills, and an appropriate balance between motivation and communication. A Project Manager who understands the unique motivational needs of his team members is one who will be able to provide the proper motivation for everyone.

A good Project Manager will also encourage team members to speak up, ask for feedback, and participate in activities that contribute to their own future success.


One way to foster good engagement in a team is to ensure everyone feels connected to the whole project, and not just the parts of the project that they are directly involved in. One way to do this it to allow members to engage in every stage of the project. There should be regular meetings about each part of the project, from planning the upcoming tasks and milestones to preparing the next phase of the project. These meetings should not be passive sessions, but constructive ones where members of the team are encouraged to ask questions and share ideas. When people feel a connection with the success of the project as a whole, rather than just certain areas of it, they will almost certainly feel a responsibility and motivation to make sure it is successful.

Project Interest

If you're trying to increase motivation during a project, one of the things that you can do is make sure that all the people on your team are interested in the project and have a clear idea of what they're doing. Motivation typically falls into two categories - one when people want something for themselves and one when they have an interest in helping someone else to get something done. In order to increase motivation during a project, you need to foster an environment where both those interests are highly valued. People may abandon a group if they become bored, so having an enjoyable project environment is important for the motivation of the team members. Doing tasks that require teamwork can be especially enjoyable. And if the project allows team members to gain new experiences, and even learn a new skill, this will almost certainly lead to increased motivation and full engagement in the project.

Cross Cultural influences

Project Management requires management of projects that span across cultures and business models. A Project Manager must know how to motivate and encourage her team members from a diverse array of backgrounds. She must also be capable of adjusting Project Management Motivation according to the particular culture of each project. An effective Project Manager will be able to encourage and motivate a team that operates within a wide variety of organisational models.


A good Project Manager takes the time to find out what motivates each of his team members as motivation is often the key difference between a good project and a great project.

In evaluating the drivers of motivation, it seems that recognition for effort and performance is the most important, but there are many other methods for keeping a team motivated. These ways include appreciating people, listening to people, and showing them how their work fits into the big picture.

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