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Managing projects is managing people.

  • Innovation and Management

The title is not a metaphor. In a project environment, people and the parts of the project that belong to them are a single entity. Indivisible. There is no work without a person behind it, and there is no work that can be done alone.

The success of a project is a consequence, not a goal. It is the result of the work of people gathered around a challenge. The project is just a tangible effect of a work performed by a human being or a set of them.

Thus, the better we take care of the cause (people), the less we need to care for the effects (project)—action and reaction.

The cause, in this context, is the work that each of us does within a project. I usually say that work is easy, but people are demanding. No good project comes out of a job unmotivated, disengaged, or unhappy.

Even if some work happens through the individual’s commitment, the best possible work can only exist if it is accompanied by motivation.

And here, a world and a mystery open up:

How to really motivate someone?

Motivating people goes far beyond incentives or any rewards policy.

It is also about keeping the work environment healthy, organized and structured. It’s about giving people reliable infrastructure, promoting fluid communication, aligning the purpose of each one with the purpose of the project/company, and so on. The nuances are endless.

I’m not going to fall into the trap of making a fascinating article on critical points for motivation. Google it, and you will find vast literature on this.

The point here is to wake you up to the mindset: give people the conditions (physical and psychological) they need to do a good job. Worry about whether everyone on the team makes sense of what they’re doing.

Take care of people, and you will have a healthy project.

At the end of the day, action and reaction, remember? 😉

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