If you want to be a bad product manager, don’t recognize achievements until the release is finished. The whole team should be aligned with the same end goal — completing the project and launching the product. If you celebrate achievements along the way, it sends the message that getting to the release isn’t what everyone should be focused on. Some people may think that this means that they have finished their work and can relax now. Why would you want to celebrate anyway — the project isn’t done yet?
If you want to be a good product manager, celebrate accomplishments and milestones along the way. This simple yet often overlooked act can help bring the product development team together to recognize the work that has been completed and help motivate for the work still left to be done.
With many projects taking months if not years, you need to have milestones along the way or else people will lose focus and the desire to keep going. Taking a break to showcase achievements can help connect each person’s work with the bigger picture, helping to put all of the efforts in perspective. It serves as a good checkpoint for where the team stands in the overall scope of the project, and is a time to relax and celebrate that you have made it this far.
It is helpful to pick the right milestones, but not crucial. Much of the benefit can be achieved from just the fact that you are celebrating at all, not so much around what specific things you are celebrating. It is best not to celebrate one group’s specific accomplishments — e.g. product management has finished writing the requirements — but instead celebrate a team accomplishment — e.g. we have the shopping cart designed, implemented, and tested.
Plan your celebrations in advance, identifying some quick wins early on in the project to set the stage for what is to come. Whether it’s a free lunch in the office, a happy hour at a local gathering, or a team activity, what’s most important is to include everyone and use the time to genuinely recognize and express appreciation for what’s been accomplished. The cost of food, drinks, activities, and a few hours of people’s time is well worth the benefits you will receive.