1. Name the Project
The project leader or members of the cross-functional team can determine a name. If you do decide to use a name, keep it simple for ease of use.
Example: the Diamond Project
2. Create a Project Plan
A good plan will help everyone feel included in the process and have the ability to see the progress being made on the project. Which leads us to. . .
3. Recognize the Project Team
Identify the project team by announcing all members through the best form of communication for your company. This might be a letter to employees, an email, or posters hung around your facility identifying the project name and team members. Some companies recognize their team by providing clothing like unique color shirts or baseball caps.
If outside consultants are involved, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to all employees who may interact with them. Help employees see any outside consultants as team members who are here to help, as opposed to the "enemy," coming to turn their work worlds upside down.
4. Celebrate the Project Start
This kickoff celebration is an excellent time to communicate the goals of the project using its catchy name, introducing the project team, and emphasizing the positive outcomes of the project for employees. Establishing strong buy-in at the user level supports everyone’s commitment to the success of the project.
5. Announce Project Progress
There are many ways to communicate progress to your workforce, but the simplest are visual. For example, use a thermometer on a poster hung in an area accessible to your employees, like the lunch room. As measurable steps are completed, the indicator rises to completion.
A visual indicator like this is an easy way to keep employees who aren't directly involved in the implementation apprised of the project's progress, helping to build excitement for the installation.
6. Honor the Project's End
One company we worked with recognized the contribution of the project team's spouses by inviting them to a special celebration where team members were publicly thanked. Another company provided team members with "We Survived -project name-” sweatshirts.
Be creative and generate enthusiasm for the next project or future software upgrade, while recognizing the contributions and patience of employees during the transition.