How to write a good thank-you email at the end of your project

Your project has come to completion, and your client signed off on the final deliveries. What do you do next? You would like to send a closing letter and a thank you to your team and client. What is the proper procedure to do that? How should this letter be worded? Should you send a separate Thank-you email to your team members?

An interview conducted with twelve project managers from five different countries with international project management experience on this topic will answer the following questions.

  • Do I send a closing letter where a thank you to everyone is included?
    • Should I send a separate thank-you email to the client?
    • Should I send a separate thank-you email to the team as a whole?
  • Should I send a separate thank-you email to each member of the team?

A thank-you group email to everyone involved

All twelve project managers agreed you should send a closing letter to everyone. The question was if you include individual thank-yous of recognition to the group email to specific team members.

To the questions, “Should I sent a separate thank-you to the client?” and “Should I send a separate thank-you email to the team as a whole?”

There is no correct answer, and project managers should use their professional judgment. Whatever you decide as a Project Manager, make it consistent in all projects.

When writing the group mail, consider this. What is the attitude amongst the team members? Am I dealing with a team culture that would cause jealousy among team members when only one or two members receive high recognition? In over 9 out of 10 cases, it is always good to praise in public.

Included in a group email, ensure the following:

  • What the team accomplished
    • Give details of what the team accomplished during the project and where the team achieved the most.
  • Special recognitions
    • As mentioned, there are cases where a Project Manager may wish not to include this to avoid jealousy among the team members.
  • An executive summary of the project.

The individual thank-you Emails

Some people ask if it is essential to send each team member a thank-you email. Why is this important?

When considering individual emails, are there instances when you need to send a thank-you email to a team member during the project and in a Matrix Organization to the team members?

The importance of sending an email to an individual employee

A thank-you email is vital for two reasons.

  1. Based on the Herzberg theory of motivation, one motivation factor is recognition. An email is considered an informal written document, and the Email is a written form that shows the employee their hard work is recognized. The people seeing their work is valued will be willing to do an excellent job for you, the Project Manager, in the current project and future projects.
  1. This written form can be used, especially in a Matrix Organization, to show the team member’s accomplishments to their management. This Email can be used by the team member when it is time for a promotion or a raise.

Things to be considered when writing the individual emails

A Project Manager should consider what kind of a person was on the team. Ask these questions.

  • Did the person contribute to the team?
  • What kind of a contribution?
  • Did the person stand out above the other members?

This article identifies two types of thank-you emails: High-Flyer, Average Person, and Not-ready.

  1. High-Flyer: this mail is for a person who not only did the job expected but found was to improve the project. This person should not only receive a Thank-You email, but you should send a copy to the person’s management.
  1. Average Contributor: You write this type of mail to a person who did everything required without hesitation. This person may have the potential to be a “High-Flyer,” but you want this person on future projects, even if never a high-flyer.

Times you write a thank-you mail when the project is still going

There will be times when a team member will notice something that neither the Project  Manager nor the other team members see. There will also be times a team member is willing to work extra hours or many other examples. Based on the first reason to write a personal thank you, giving recognition while the project is still ongoing, as described in Herzberg’s motivational theory. Giving such distinction is essential, especially if the reason points to a member who is becoming a High-Flyer.

Examples of “Thank-You Emails”

 

The Group email to everyone involved

Dear All:

It is my pleasure to announce that we have successfully completed the Remodeling project for Big Office Inc.

Special thanks go out to:

  • Eduard (The client sponsor) for his support and understanding when the shipping company delayed the delivery of his company’s office lights and working with building security to allow our employees to work after hours.
  • Susan & Mr. McReady for putting in extra hours to have the lights installed on time.

Executive Summary:

Big Office Inc. contracted XYZ modeling with the task to remodel the offices for Big Office Inc.

The shipping company tasked with delivering the office lights was delayed by two days. There was a policy in place with the security company to not have people working after 7 pm. Despite the delay, XYZ Model was able to work with the Sponsor from Big Office to allow two employees to stay on-site after 7 pm to work extra hours installing the lights.

XYX Modeling was able to complete the task on schedule.

Kind Regards,

John Doe,
Project Manager
XYZ Modeling

Individual Thank-You emails

(A Project Manager can use this example either after completing the project or during the project.)

The High-Flyer

Dear Max Power,

                I just wanted to thank you personally for a job well done. If it weren’t for you taking the time to find a better-priced solution for Big Bank Co.’s network design, they would have left for the competition. Your expertise saved the project and prevented XYZ Network Solutions from losing a customer.

                Your first line manager is also receiving a copy of this, as she needs to know what an outstanding contribution you have made to our firm. I hope to work with you again on future projects.

Kind Regards,

John Doe,
Project Manager
XYZ Network Solutions

Average Contributor

Dear Ray Jones,

                I just wanted to thank you for the time you put in for our project. We were happy to have you on our team and look forward to seeing you again.

Kind Regards,

John Doe,

Project Manager

XYZ Corporation.

 

Summary

Everyone wants to receive appreciation for their work. All twelve project managers interviewed on this topic agreed the worst thing for a project manager or anyone in a leadership position to do is fail to show appreciation to a person’s work. Some believe a saying, “Not scolded is already praised.” is a good thing. Successful leaders quickly learn you get more from people when you show appreciation for their accomplishments.

So, when working with people, remember what Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends & Influence People, wrote, “Give honest and sincere appreciation.”

Ken Tillery

Ken holds a Master of Science in Global Management and currently works as a Global Project Manager and has worked as a Global Service Delivery Manager. Ken spent the last 15 years leading globally dispersed teams with team members located in multiple countries. Has also given classes on how to deal with cultural differences and related issues when working with project teams with members located across borders and continents.

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