It seems that people feel motivated near the start of a task, because they can easily see their own progress. And, as they near the end, the feeling that their close to finishing draws them on. But, in the middle, motivation sags. Is your project ‘stuck in the middle’?
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The paper, Mastering Motivation, by Andrea Bonezzi, Miguel Brendl, and Matteo de Angelis at the Kellogg School of Management describes a graph of motivation against time with a characteristic ‘U’ shape.
I suspect it does. When I read about their work, it rang true to me. It’s a familiar dynamic. So, how can we get past the sag in the middle?
One of my pet topics is the wide range of theories of motivation at work. If that’s something you want to learn a bit about, take a look at our feature article:
‘Everything You Need to Know about Project Team Motivation’
And, if you want the detail, our sister channel, Management Courses, has a whole free YouTube Course on Motivation.
I think there is. We can make less middle in our projects.
I’ve long been an advocate of more milestones rather than fewer. Milestones mark start points or finish points. More milestones mean more ends. And more ends mean less middle.
These decision points break up your project lifecycle. We use them principally for governance purposes. I also wrote this article, if you want to know more:
But crucial to this argument, stage gates mark the end of one stage of your project, and the start of the next. so, they reduce the amount of middle in your project.
What indeed? I suspect Bonezzi and colleagues’ work is a general finding. If so, it accounts in part for the popularity and success of well-run Agile projects. Because they have many starts and finishes. The short sprints of Scrum are a perfect way to reduce the amount of middle.
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I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
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Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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