Why am I telling you all of this? Because there is a lot of love, respect and admiration in this city for that hockey player and they showed it by making a chocolate sculpture of him. As business analysts and project leaders, we should have a lot love, admiration and respect for our fellow project team members. After all, we are working long hard hours toward a common project goal and we need to stay focused and driven toward the common goals and success of the project.
I'm not literally saying that you should re-create your project team in chocolate... that might be a little over the top and I'm guessing it would be hard for you to get accounting or anyone in senior management to agree to fund that unless you and your team won a nobel prize or something. But it does sound like a great way to show appreciation for a job or jobs well done, doesn't it? Maybe you can personally carve them in wood – but probably not. But you can show the love for team efforts or outstanding individual achievements on the project in other ways like rewards and recognitions and announcements. Consider these options...
Reward the full team with a night out. This one sounds good and many might like this option. I would never choose this option and likely wouldn't participate. I have a large family at home and heading out for a night on the town is the exact opposite of what I would consider a good reward or recognition. So consider who is on your team and what their needs and obligations might be. You might be trying to reward them with something that feels more like 'work' time. However, this type of reward can be an excellent way to reward the full team and build more cohesion for the team as a whole.
Send out a company wide announcement. One great way – and a very easy one that gets the job done in a very big and quick and free way – is to send out an announcement at the end of a project or deliverable or big project effort that says this individual or these team members were awesome and performed incredibly well for customer 'x' on project 'y' because of 'z'... It makes them happy, everyone sees it including senior management and the individual's' direct supervisor and you don't need any approval to do so. Just word it well, don't leave anyone out and hit 'send.'
Send an email to senior management. Likewise, you can send direct correspondence to the higher ups in the company stating the project, the task or tasks and who was responsible for the success and recommend them for some sort of accommodation, if appropriate. And be sure to cc: the performing parties so that they know you did this – it will make them even better team members than they already are.
Meet with their direct supervisor(s). Usually, in a project management infrastructure, the project team members don't report to the business analyst or project manager outside of the project. They are assigned to your team in the typical matrix professional services organization. So the next concept is to report their great performance to their direct supervisor. That's who is responsible for their raises and promotions, but they won't know about this success unless they hear it from you... so tell them!
Give out a day or days off. You'll likely need some higher authorization for this, but I don't think anyone would turn down a day or two off of work, would they? This comes in especially handy at the end of a huge go-live push at the end of a project when considerable overtime was needed and expected. Or at the end of an extended onsite visit to a customer site to fix / resolve issues or finish off an implementation. Most of us have been through one or more of these scenarios and are ready for a much needed break! I know I wouldn't turn it down.
Hand out some cash or gift cards. Finally, cold hard cash or cold hard gift cards will likely never be turned down. Everyone likes cash and gift cards. Just make sure it comes from the company pot of gold if there is one – it should never come from your own pocket. And since this is a quiet way to express gratitude for the great performance, you may still want to announce it using one or more of the methods described above. Cash, Amazon gift cards or gift cards for a nice restaurant are always a great thing and will always be accepted by your colleagues on the project in recognition for their hard work. No worries there. And they won't forget your effort to recognize them. Win – win.
Summary / call for input
The bottom line is this – everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. If it's not you, your time will come. But always pay it forward on the good job recognition stuff. You'll reap benefits back on the current and / or future projects because no one forgets who said “good job” to them... we just don't hear it often enough. And you don't have to sculpt them in chocolate to do it – just give them some recognition among their peers. It will mean a lot to them. Trust me.
What are your thoughts? What have you done to single out great performances? Or what does your company do to show gratitude for jobs well done? Please share your thoughts on this – I think most of us could us help in this area... unless we own a chocolate shop and in that case I can send you a picture of me to use for sculpting in chocolate!