Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Let's Order Pizza

~ By Brad Egeland

Pizza, cheese and various vegetables close up

Let’s talk about rewards and recognition. We all like it, but in what form? And how far should one go to do so? Formal rewards and recognition? Informal? Pizza party or raise? Ice cream or promotion? And at what level? Completion of a project or good performance on a key task?

No-nonsense Approach

I don't know about most project managers, but I like to think that I’m a fairly no-nonsense manager of employees and project team members. Assign work, be there to support and direct, watch for weaknesses and train or redirect, answer questions, make decisions, help knock down roadblocks and liaison with executive management to get things pushed through. That's much of what I do - and much of what I believe that I am supposed to do - for my employees, for my project staff members, and for my PMO staff team. That's my job…that's what they should be expecting of me.

Now, what about the other stuff? What does everyone think? The pomp and circumstance is not my style. Just as following senior leadership around like a lost puppy hoping for a raise, promotion or reward, tossing out candy recognition is not my style either. I seriously didn’t even think about the term brown-nose hard enough to realise what it was referring to (I knew generally what it meant, but figuratively…I hadn’t analysed it that far and when I realised a few years ago I was pretty grossed out!).

I've worked alongside project managers who felt the need to hand out frequent 'prize' rewards for just about every project accomplishment much like they give out those 'participation' ribbons in t-ball and pee-wee football. I believe in calling out excellence and recognising it in the organisation - often to the entire organisation and the project customer as well. It's the pizza parties, cake and ice cream socials, and cookie bouquets that you'll probably never see me handing out.

What Do Others Think or Do?

What about our readers? How do you reward your team members for a job well done? I understand that a major celebration like a successful solution deployment at the end of a long project engagement may call for the pizza party - and I've done that. But what about those minor phases along the way that took significant effort, but only got us to the halfway point in the project? I never feel the need to go over the top for those. Likewise, the extra effort that a team member puts in to get a key deliverable out the door is important, but I never feel the need to give him a trophy. Rather, I point out those types of mutation performances during status meetings, phase kickoff meetings and other formal customer gatherings and to the company executives and even the masses in the form of a project update, formal recognition or internal project 'press release.' But have a party to celebrate it? If the project isn't over yet, then it seems premature. I like to get to the finish line before letting too much hype get in the way. I don’t want it to be like those football players who start celebrating on the 10-yard line as they’re heading for a touchdown only to lose their grip on the football and fumble it before they ever cross the goal line. Somehow I always feel embarrassed for them.

Call for Feedback

How do you celebrate accomplishments for your individual team members? For your team as a whole? And at what stage? During the project? When it’s over? And what method do you generally use to recognise and reward?


Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment

(never displayed)

Is it true or false that seven is a number?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

So You Want to Be a Project Manager

Businessman smiling with hands together

Not sure what skills it takes to become a Project Manager? This article lists the six key skills required to be a successful project manager.

The Mythical 50% Resource

Red blocks with the percent sign on a white background

Most managers of software development projects have had an encounter with a resource who is committed to their project some percentage of the time.

Helping Project Teams Succeed

Business team brainstorming using coloured labels on a table in an office

Project teams will be successful when the right environmental conditions exist; sadly this is not always the case.

Capturing Those Lessons Learned

Project team reviewing lessons learned

Do you capture your lessons learned? If you do, how effectively do you capture them?

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.

Latest Comments

Mind, Meditation and the Project Manager
- Thu 25 January 2:19pm

Arthur commented on…
Make Me a Project Manager in 2018
- Tue 16 January 12:24pm

Suzanne commented on…
The Role of the Project Manager
- Thu 11 January 9:29pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Any Complete Project/Workflow Management Online Tool? #projectsmart #pmot about 1 month ago

General Project Management • Re: What degree should I choose to further my career? #projectsmart #pmot about 1 month ago

General Project Management • Identification System for Project Management Methodology #projectsmart #pmot about 2 months ago