What do Project Managers do all day??

From the Design Thinking & Project Management Blog
Design Thinking has emerged as a practical methodology for driving innovative outcomes. This blog aims to explore the intersection between Design Thinking and Project Management and to start a conversation on leveraging Design Thinking for contribution to the Project Management practice.

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What do Project Managers do all day??

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Have you ever been asked by a colleague "What do you Project Managers do all day?" I have. 

I recently presented to an audience of non-project managers and generated a histogram chart to explain what occupies my time during one week.

Tasks that consumed my early career are blue. As a young PM, my time was dominated by maintaining project schedules, checking in with the team and subcontractors for project status, communications/calls and monitoring budgets.

Tasks that I currently focus on as a Sr. Program Manager (green) include relationship building, stakeholder management, HR/team development, and communications/calls.

Do you notice shift from tracking and monitoring to more of the “people side” of management?

 - What other insights do you draw from the chart?

 - What tasks would you add that are missing?

 - Where would you encourage more focus that is underrepresented?



Connect with me here on Linkedin, at www.brucegay.com, or follow me on Twitter @brucegay

Posted on: July 03, 2019 03:46 PM | Permalink

Comments (15)

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I like your histogram chart, Bruce. So interesting to see the shift in your work focus - seasoned project managers realize this is spot on!

I like this chart too Bruce. What was this chart based on exactly ? Did you do a survey ? Those are very interesting findings.

Thanks for sharing this, Bruce!

I was really curious about this so a few months back I timed everything I did on 5 non-consecutive days.

The results were surprising even for me. For instance, I have very strict rules regarding email but even so I spend 1/3 of those 5 days reading and replying emails.

These strict email rules include:
- Not having any email notifications anywhere,
- taking the initiative of attending my inbox,
- and when attending to my inbox, I move every single email to one of 3 folders: todo (if the email requires some action from me), archive (if the purpose of the email was to inform me of whatever), and forget it (if I don't believe that that email requires anything useful from me and so I hope the sender forgets about it)

If I can spend 1/3 of my working time going through email and I have all these rules, I can but just imagine how much time other people spend (with notifications on, replying to every email as they read it, and so on).

So again, thanks for sharing this, Bruce!

Like the histogram, where have you gathered the data from? sound right to me, thanks for sharing

Liked the histogram. It is a snapshot. Focus increases more towards new business and proposal as you become seasoned project manager and experienced in organization.

A very interesting histogram Bruce, thanks for sharing

@Luis - Thanks for sharing your email management techniques. Spending 33% of working time on emails is not surprising. We all struggle with the constant bombardment from multiple communication channels (email, phone, slack, social media, Linkedin, etc.).

@Rami - This is a representation of my time over a week. I specifically left the x-axis vague as the relative frequency is more important than the measure of time. That is the power of a histogram chart.

@Bruce: Great stuff, you encouraged me to do the same. I like your idea !

Bruce, looks very familiar to my day as well. Thank you for sharing

Very nice initiative, Bruce!

Great job! Thank you for sharing!

Thank you this, Bruce. You might also consider a category for Learning Curves (to capture time spent learning about new technology or business initiatives we are being asked to support). Change is the norm in my workplace.

Thanks a lot for sharing , I fully agree with you that our focus shift to more people management as we move into more project senior roles.

Great job on the chart Bruce. It makes complete sense!

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