Time Management for New PMs: A Balancing Act

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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.

Project management is like everything else in life—the more you do it, the better you get. Practice and experience not only improve the quality of your project management skills, they also reduce the amount of time different tasks take. That’s a problem for new PMs—things take longer, especially when you’re trying very hard not to make the mistakes that are more likely given your lack of experience.

While new project managers are likely to have fewer—and smaller—projects to manage, that only goes so far to reduce the workload. Most new project managers I come across feel as though they have way too much work to do and way too few hours to get it done in. Of course, many experienced PMs share the same feelings, but they are better equipped to handle those situations, so I’m going to stay focused on new project managers here.

New project managers have a natural tendency to focus their time and effort on “squeaky wheels”—those aspects of the project that are making the most noise, causing the most problems, etc. That’s dangerous for a number of different reasons.

Firstly, it narrows the focus. Instead of maintaining a high-level view of everything that’s happening on the project, the PM gets into more detail on the situation that is causing problems while losing sight of what is happening elsewhere.


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"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."

- Dave Barry

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