PM, Interrupted

Tom's latest eBook has been released on Amazon: "The 7 Myths of IT Integrations". Tom is also a Program Director for a large Midwest corporation and has been an adjunct faculty member at Walsh College. He has managed global web initiatives, data center moves and large multi-million dollar programs.

It seems so obvious, but I’ll bet very few project managers are aware it exists. Nonetheless, there it is--the problem that we don’t like to talk about. After all, we’re project managers for crying out loud! Managing a project appears to be pretty much self-evident: follow the phases, create the deliverables, meet with the team, log the issues, write the reports, you know…management.

The problem for many of us, however, is that lost in all of the frameworks and methodologies of the world are the little gems that help us in the hand-to-hand engagement of our work. This problem stems from the fact that project management likes to deal with “planned work”. But being a project manager (and a knowledge worker in general) adds three additional categories of work:

  1. Reactive tasks are those tasks you didn’t plan for but were added to your day by bosses, team members and others.
  2. Undefined tasks end up in your queue (usually by bosses) but still have to be thought through in order to determine what to do with them and what the next steps are (follow up with this vendor, see if this technology might help us, etc.).
  3. Delegated tasks arethose tasks that you are passing to someone else to perform but that you still need to monitor to make sure they get done.

In short, these new categories of tasks become sand in the …

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