Did you show appreciation?

Another holiday season is over.  Did you show appreciation towards the hardest working members of your team?  This seems like an odd question within the context of a blog on project management strategy.  However in everything you do you depend on people, and strong technical people who are necessarily going to be vocal about their accomplishments.

The nature of the technical person is to be self deprecating.  That is to say, they may not mention their achievements, the hours they have worked, the extra effort they spent thinking about how to solve a problem on your project instead of thinking about their family or partner or spouse.

I was once a technical person, in the trenches programming and developing complex solutions to satisfy seemingly simple business requirements.  I know what it is like to toil away to solve a stubborn logic problem that you can’t explain to anyone.  I remember trying to explain the logic puzzle I was solving to my better half and their eyes quickly glazed over in a few minutes while they are attempting to look interested and you know no matter how keen they are they won’t fully appreciate the challenge I have been struggling with.

I went into technology because of my desire to work on solving problems and also partly because I have a bit of an introverted side.  That means I won’t always stick up for myself or be vocal about my accomplishments because that may make me feel uncomfortable.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t need to feel that I’m appreciated.

On any of your projects the technical people may have worked evenings and extra hours, weekends and some on holidays to save your butt.   They may not be vocal about doing it, but you can bet they did.  Just because they weren’t vocal about it doesn’t mean they don’t need to feel a sincere thank you for their efforts.

We have finished the holiday season.  Did you send a simple, but warm and sincere thank you note to your strong technical people who made your milestones successful last year?  It doesn’t have to be much.  A simple Happy Holidays card will do with a few simple sentences inside, such as “Hello name .  Hope you have a Happy Holidays.  I just wanted to say thanks for all the effort and extra work you provided to the project this year.  We couldn’t have done it without you, really.  Your contributions are very much appreciated.  Please find enclosed a small token of my appreciation.  Thanks very much,  – your name. ”  Or sometimes I will remember a particular project management milestone they were working on.

However it has to be sincere and you have to mean it.  And then you include a $25 or $50 gift card to a coffee shop or something that they can either use themselves or with their significant other, or with their family.  Most coffee shops serve sweets and eats and other things that all ages like, so you have given them the option to include others in the reward.

Including others in the reward is important because that “other group of people” may have influence over where they work and if they get included in on the benefits of a reward that may help compensate for the time they spent working on your project milestones.  It is a way of thanking them as well.

We are still kind of in the new year phase, so you can still send out thank you cards for the last year and it can feel legitimate.  If you haven’t thanked them yet, make sure you show appreciation to your team members who have really helped you in your project management engagements this year.