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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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?
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).
@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.
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.