Projects have a limited running time and uncertainty is inherent. Constant challenges and fast changes between successes and disappointments can quickly lead to frustration. A positive prevailing mood is essential in order to cope with rapidly changing and high demands. Motivation and pleasure are the central elements that will carry a project through difficult phases and right through to the end.
Therefore if a team is motivated and is regarding the project as a positive challenge, collaboration and the project’s progress as a whole will greatly benefit.
A good and motivated team is not self-evident. Conditions must be right and personal motivation must be nurtured. According to current knowledge, motivation is an internal process. This means that individuals react positively to inspiring and exciting stimuli and can be motivated. On the other hand, inner motivation is negatively influenced by disruptive stimuli or crippling conditions. It is up to the project manager to create or promote the conditions that will instill enthusiasm and motivation in his team. Two factors are crucial: successful team development processes and working conditions that are on the whole conducive to team work.
In a team, there must be room for both professionalism and emotions. Exemplary planning is useless if expectations regarding teamwork or ideas in regard to problem solving are different. Team building is an important method for strengthening and promoting motivation. The process includes the selection of the team, team building and support measures and also the dissolution of the team at the end of the project. The most important aspect in this process is the creation of optimal conditions for good collaboration within the team. A successful team is a productive group capable of working and learning together. Such a team has a clearly defined and accepted structure, rules accepted by all and motivated and flexible enough to accept new challenges time and again. Team development does not start with the first conflictual situation. The foundations for good teamwork are laid in the starting phase (cf. Initial retreat).
Thinking regularly about the way the team collaborates, learns and resolves disagreements is crucial for successful team development. This process needs to be given sufficient time. Several factors are important for keeping a team content and motivated. It is the interplay of such factors that determines if motivation for the project can be maintained throughout the length of the project or if it will decrease or increase. Some such factors are:
Important for teamwork and team building are so-called soft factors. Required personal skills are advisory skills, ability to deal with conflict and ability to integrate. Required competencies for team leaders are team building skills, communication skills and mediating skills.
Working conditions play an important role in the collaborators' motivation. Ideally, they allow the team members to concentrate fully on the tasks required by the project; adverse working conditions absorb energies and diminish motivation. Working conditions include: conditions of employment (models for flexible working time), working atmosphere, inter-project tasks within the executing institution, variety of themes in the executing institution, team development, organizational development and quality development, opportunities for consultation with colleagues, intervision and supervision within the institution.