Inspired Project Teams

Enduring Wisdom & Guided Challenges to Help Project Teams Achieve Their Best

  • Nov 21

    [Link image: This is a sample from PM Minimalist]

    [This book excerpt is from “Taking Care of Yourself:  Managing Your Priorities, Time, & Energy” in The Project Management Minimalist]

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    “Interruption is the enemy of productivity…Those taps on the shoulder and little impromptu get-togethers may seem harmless, but they’re actually corrosive to productivity. Interruption is not collaboration, it’s just interruption. [These] break your work day into a series of ‘work moments.’”  — Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson in Rework: A Better, Easier Way to Succeed in Business

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  • Sep 11

    Image: project team motivational session

    These days most organizations are operating with the smallest possible number of employees. This means that project managers routinely find themselves having to reach beyond their organization’s “official” employee roster to find team members. And frequently this means acquiring volunteers — team members who can’t be paid or given any tangible compensation for their efforts.  But if you can’t pay them or provide any material compensation, how can you reward volunteers for their work? And, more importantly, how can you keep them motivated to do a good job and to join your project team the next time you need them?

    Below are three broad strategies for rewarding and motivating volunteers.

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  • Jan 15

    Audio:  Let Go of Perfectionism [Time – 7:49, File Size – 7.3 MB]

    “The idea of perfect closes your mind to new standards.. When you drive hard toward one ideal, you miss opportunities and paths, not to mention hurting your confidence. Believe in your potential and then go out and explore it; don’t limit it.”  John Eliot, Ph.D. in Reverse Psychology for Success

    “If you give me 90% of what you call ‘perfect,’ we can make a profit, you can have a life, and you won’t burn out.  But if you keep trying to close that gap and get it ‘100% perfect,’ you’re gonna drive yourself crazy and screw things up for both of us!”  –  Anonymous Senior Executive, my first consulting firm

    Years ago, when I was just starting my career with a top-notch training consulting firm as a writer and developer of training materials, I was fairly intimidated by my job and by the high-quality work of my co-workers. In response, I tried and tried to get things “perfect,” putting in lots of extra hours, frustrating my family by my late evenings, and developing so much energy around my work products that I frequently engaged in long arguments defending my stuff and why it was “perfect.”

    The introductory quote above is from the one of the most senior executives of that company. He delivered it one evening around 7 o’clock when he found me, once again, at my desk working late. He already knew what I came to learn years later, when I was managing my own teams of training developers and media producers:  “Perfection” is a fiction… even an indulgence. There are many, many ways to get results in a project. And, rather than achieving a “perfect” result that reflects the vision of one individual, the best project teams generate results that come from collaborative, synthesized, and shared visions – visions that meet the needs of many stakeholders and of  which those many stakeholders can be proud!

    Greer’s Challenges…

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  • Jan 13

    Audio:  Embrace the Work Itself [Time – 4:08, File Size – 3.8 MB]

    Projects are the most goal-oriented of human endeavors. And if you spend most of your life working on projects, as so many of our project team members do, you can develop an uneasy, ever-present sense that you are never really finished. There’s a continual nagging feeling that you’ve not completed your work because the next goal is endlessly popping up in front of you, demanding your attention.

    So where’s the joy in the work itself? What about the intrinsic value of our chosen profession? The beauty and fascination of the field itself? What about the practice of our profession?

    Consider this from George Leonard’s Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment (my  bold added for emphasis):

    “Goals and contingencies… are important. But they exist in the future and the past, beyond the pale of the sensory realm. Practice, the path of mastery, exists only in the present. You can see it, hear it, smell it, feel it. To love the plateau is to love the eternal now, to enjoy the inevitable spurts of progress and the fruits of accomplishment, then serenely to accept the new plateau that waits just beyond them. To love the plateau is to love what is most essential and enduring…”

    Greer’s Challenges…

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  • Dec 23

    Audio:  Make Time for Recreation [Time – 7:49, File Size – 7.3 MB]

    “Do you know what the word ‘recreation’ means? It means ‘re-creating’ your energy, your enthusiasm. You’re no good to me all burnt out and crispy. So this weekend, go camping with your family or something… anything. Just don’t bring back your musty old, stressed-out self!”  – Anonymous supervisor, my first job out of grad school

    “Rule #24:  One must pay close attention to workaholics: if they get going in the wrong direction, they can do a lot of damage in a short time. It is possible to overload them and cause premature burnout but hard to determine if the load is too much, since much of it is self generated.  It is important to make sure such people take enough time off and that the workload does not exceed 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 times what is normal.” – from One Hundred Rules for NASA Project Managers (Curator: James Atherton)

    “I’ve created the concept of a holi-hour, a shortened version of a holi-day.  I allow myself at least an hour each day to relax totally.” — Susan Jeffers in Feel the Fear… And Do It Anyway


    Energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and the ability to interact pleasantly and productively… if you or your team is going without adequate time off, it is unlikely that they can muster any of these traits in a sustained way.  Simply put: Working around-the-clock without taking time for recreation is not heroic, nor is it even sensible. It can lead to mistakes, low-quality project results, and (worse) to burnt-out team members and even shattered personal lives.

    The trouble is that many professionals — the top-knotch people we all want on our teams — may have accepted a level of overload in their lives when they were in grad school or serving internships that is simply unrealistic and unsustainable over the course of a career. It’s important to their long-term health, and the health of your organization, that they learn to value recreation as much as they value making high-quality professional contributions. The fact is, in the long run, quality results depend upon rested, invigorated people.

    Greers Challenges…

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