Quality Thinking Time

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

As project managers we spend a lot of our own time managing the time of our teams--making sure that they are being utilized as effectively as possible, that they are available when they are needed, that they are on target to finish their work when planned, etc. Yet for project managers themselves, the situation is often different. I have seen many (perhaps most) project plans not even mention the regular PM activities, let alone making sure that there is enough time set aside for the unexpected events that will ultimately make or break the project.

And yet the difference between the best PMs and the rest is not in the way that they update project schedules or complete status reports, it’s how they manage those unexpected events, how they motivate/lead people and how they solve problems. This all takes time, so I want to use this article to look into how we generate quality thinking time for ourselves. (Hopefully you can find a few minutes in your schedule to read it…)

Good work does not always equal long hours
Let’s get this one out of the way right from the start: You don’t become a better project manager by working longer hours (in fact, you may actually become worse). As PMs, we aren’t paid for the hours we work or for the number of widgets that we produce; rather, we are paid for our brains--for the combination of experience, …

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