The Pragmatic Manager, Volume 1 #2
- This month’s Feature Article: Appreciations, Personalized Thank You’s
- Telelclass Announcement
- On the Bookshelf
- Want to hear more from Johanna?
- Want to read more of Johanna’s writing?
The project retrospective was proceeding nicely. We’d had lunch, and we entered the mid-afternoon low-energy lull. I decided it was time to change gears for a few minutes, to move the energy back up a couple of notches, so I introduced appreciations.
Appreciations are a special form of thank you. They take the form of:
- I appreciate you [the person’s name] for [a specific action]. A second optional part that I suggested the participants include is: [What that action meant to you].
If you’re in the same room, you can walk up to the person, look them in the eye, and express the appreciation. For some people, that seems too emotional, not a work statement, so I make that part optional. But, if you want people to continue repeating beneficial behaviors, include the what-the-action-meant-to-you part.
This project team had no trouble appreciating their colleagues. Here are some of their paraphrased appreciations:
“Hermione, I appreciate you for insisting that we estimate the project assuming we only had 4 work days each week. I had an estimate that was amazingly close to the actual schedule. That’s never happened to me before.”
“I appreciate you Ron, for thinking about the project and testing intelligently. I’ve worked with testers who didn’t know about our projects, and not had the benefits I wanted from the testing. You found things I didn’t know I’d put into the code.”
“Harry, I appreciate you for playing basketball with me when I couldn’t think about that part of the design anymore. You helped prevent me from designing garbage.”
“I appreciate you Dumbledore, for reviewing my first draft architecture write-up so quickly. Because you reviewed it quickly, I was able to reorganize it, and our customers really like the way the product is organized now.”
Notice how appreciations are different from typical corporate thank you’s. Here’s a typical corporate thank you. For best effect, read this with a deep blustery voice, “On behalf of the senior management team, we thank the Foosis project for their time and effort. Great job everyone!”
Nothing personal about that thank you. What did the Foosis team do? Is the company going to use it? Did it make a difference?
When you appreciate someone, you’re thanking a specific person for a specific action, and explaining how that action was personally valuable to you.
Not bad for one or two sentences, eh?
(I appreciate you J.K.R., for creating such wonderful characters that engage and encourage reading by all ages.)
* Teleclass Announcement:
Effective one-on-ones help you and your technical staff clear obstacles, know what work is necessary for success, and gather more data for more effective performance evaluations. If you’d like to improve your one-on-ones, this teleclass is for you. See https://www.jrothman.com/teleclass.html for more information. The first session is May 28, 11am EST.
* On the Bookshelf:
A benefit of being a Software Development Jolt Judge was receiving all the books to read. Bob Martin’s “Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns and Processes,” ISBN 0135974445 won the Jolt award in the General category. Bob explains how to manage agile projects, how to make good design choices, and includes three case studies. If you’re not sure about agile projects, and you want to see some detailed explanations, try this book.
* Want to hear more from Johanna?
If you want to catch me at a public event, see if you can make these:
May 12-13, I’ll be at STAR East, facilitating a new kind of session, “Testing Dialogues” with Esther Derby. We’re facilitating one technical session and one management session.
June 2-6, I’ll be at the Software Management conference. Esther and I are teaching the “Making the Transition to Management” tutorial, and my keynote presentation is “Ready, Aim,… Hire” (yes, based on material from my upcoming book.)
June 10, I’ll be at the PMI Central Massachusetts meeting, discussing “Agile Project Management: An Oxymoron?”
My calendar page always has the most recent information.
* Want to read more from Johanna?
I keep a list of my latest formally published writings and point to the articles from there.
New publications since the last Pragmatic Manager:
Plan Perfect, in Software Development, May 2003
Check out my roundtable on Stickyminds, “Test Management 101.” Participants have been actively reading and writing.
If you’d like some common sense, down-to-earth ideas about how to manage projects, people, or your work, you’ve come to the right place. Each e-zine has a short feature article and other information you can use to work better.
Tell me how you’ve used these ideas. Or, if you have questions, comments, or feedback, tell me that too.
All contents © 2003 Johanna Rothman.
Tags: appreciations, management