Project Management

Keeping Team Focus

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's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When I first started managing projects, I had a tendency to get so engrossed in the details that I forgot that there was a whole company around me that was working on all kinds of different things that had absolutely nothing to do with my project. Now in those days, there were a lot fewer distractions compared to today—but nevertheless, I was pretty naïve.

Today, the demands on an employees’ time are many and varied: continuous email interruptions, the likelihood that an individual will be working on multiple things at the same time, team and organizational meetings, and the myriad of office distractions that come with a modern working environment. It’s impossible for us as project managers—or for any of our team members—to shut ourselves away and ignore everything else that’s happening beyond the project. And sometimes that becomes a problem because it causes our team members to lose focus—and that reduces the project’s productivity.

How do you deal with those situations?

Set an example
The easiest thing you can do is make sure that you aren’t enabling the problem. If you want your team members to remain focused on the project, then make sure you yourself are focused on the project. They don’t care if you are looking after other projects in parallel, or whether you have other accountabilities in the …

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