Project Management

The Money Files

A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from

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Spring clean your portfolio: Setting clear priorities and roadmapping

Spring clean your portfolio: Resource management

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Saving 14 minutes a day with AI

Research amongst Microsoft Copilot users highlights that on average they are saving 14 minutes a day (1.2 hours per week) by using Copilot, which is an AI-add in. Some users reported saving over 30 minutes a day, and using the time gained for focus work or additional meetings (*gulp*).

If you’re wondering how GenAI is going to change the way you work, Copilot is an example of something quite easy to use that speeds up completing your daily tasks. For example, you can draft a new presentation from a prompt or summarise an email thread or chat thread. I can see how this would help you catch up on meetings too as you can ask it questions based on a meeting transcript, or get a recap of the whole meeting.

I think that nothing really beats the aha moments in a meeting where you are working with others and finding a way forward, but there are also plenty of meetings that should have been an email. And I don’t know about you, but my diary is often double-booked with invites, and it’s hard to find time to squeeze more calls in, especially with senior leaders. Summarising a missed meeting can save people 32 minutes, which you could fill with another meeting, or take a lunch break, or write that project proposal that’s been sitting on your desk for a week.

Fourteen minutes per day does not sound like much, but it’s worth having, if the overall burden of admin work is reduced, freeing up time for us to do more project leadership and less creating slides, typing minutes or searching for files (the study said users were 29% faster in a series of tasks including searching, writing and summarising information).

The most important thing that I took away from the survey is that it doesn’t take less effort – it also feels like it takes less effort. The mental load of work is substantial. There are tasks to juggle, unending To Do items, stakeholders to keep engaged and lots more that we hold in our heads every day. Sometimes I end the day with decision fatigue. Sometimes it’s hard to switch off and the mental energy expended throughout the day has been exhausting.

If I can feel like I’m doing less burdensome work and more value-add work, that has to benefit my mental health and my enjoyment of the job.

Personally, I think this kind of GenAI has more practical use for project leaders than the ChatGPT-style interfaces that are available, including PMI’s own Infinity. I checked that out too, and it’s good for learning. I asked it to work out some potential risks for an example project for me, and it did a pretty good job of coming up with some basic risks I could include in a risk log as a starting point for discussion. A huge benefit of Infinity over my ‘normal’ ChatGPT account is that it provides the sources, so you can be confident you’re getting reliable, trusted information, which is very important if you’re building out work products based on the guidance.

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I can see a workplace in the not-too-distant future where we’ve got a pop up GenAI tool on the desktop to support everyday tasks, and a ChatGPT-style interface for research and more in-depth (or even quick) questions. What do you think about the way GenAI is influencing how work tools are built and the features on offer to you? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on: March 12, 2024 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

5 Risks for Delegating

Categories: delegating, budget, risk

I don’t think of myself as someone good at delegating. I tend to want things done when I want them done, and it’s easier to do them myself rather than waiting for someone else to do them on their time (thinking about household chores here…).

But as I have got on in my career, it has become more important to learn how to delegate, and to do it well.

Here are 5 risks that present when you delegate something and what you can do about them.

1. The job is done badly

There is a risk that the job is not done to the standard you require. This could happen if the person is not capable of doing the work correctly, perhaps because you’ve delegated to the wrong person – someone who has not been trained, for example. There might have been a hiring error: someone looked great on paper and performed well at interview but they aren’t really right for the role.

2. The wrong job is done

There is a risk that the wrong task is done completely. This hasn’t happened to me often, but on one project we did have a team member edit the wrong version of a document, and that work had to be done again. Miscommunication was the reason that happened, so again, this risk should be totally within your control as the project manager to mitigate.

3. The job goes overbudget

There is a risk that the work costs more than if you had done it yourself, for various reasons including it taking longer. I had this with copywriting I outsourced. The person who took on the job did an excellent job, but in the end it required more rework than I had anticipated, so it cost more.

4. The job takes longer

There is a risk that the work takes longer than planned. This could happen because the person you delegate to is busier than they thought they would (or that you thought they would be) or their priorities are changed by their manager. Or they simply work slower than you would do, and you estimated the task based on the speed that you would do it yourself.

This can happen when work is delegated to less experienced colleague as well: typically, experienced staff take less time to do the same job as they don’t need to do so much research or checking.

5. The job is not done at all

There is a risk that the work is not done at all. This could happen as a result of you thinking you delegated but you actually didn’t: manager error, for example, the email got stuck in your outbox. Or perhaps you communicated so gently that they didn’t pick up on the fact you were actually asking them to do the work at all.

It could also be an error on their side. Perhaps they dropped the ball and haven’t got round to it yet, or they have deliberately chosen not to do it and are ghosting you. I think this scenario is rare, but I suppose it could happen.

What risks have you found from delegating? Any to add to the list? Or have you been in any situations where you’ve delegated and it hasn’t turned out exactly as planned?

Posted on: April 18, 2023 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

"Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind."

- Rudyard Kipling