Project management teams are comprised of driven, high performing people. In short, they get a lot done. But along the way some PMP®s have also picked up efficiency-sapping habits. If you’re a busy PMP® looking to maximize your efforts, see if you’re doing any of these 6 things.
1 – Creating new workflows for every project. Repeatable success is typically borne out of repeatable processes. PMP®s that start from scratch each time are putting their efforts in the wrong place. If existing workflows and processes need a boost, identify the necessary changes and implement them in a systematic way. This allows everyone to use efficient and effective workflows each time without spending unnecessary time recreating the wheel.
2 – Giving lame presentations. With the number of presentations PMP®s sit through, you may as well make them as engaging and useful as possible. Stick to the data that’s necessary and leverage other tools to further facilitate good information flow. It will save you time setting up your presentation and it will make better use of your attendees’ time, too. Hit the high points during the face-to-face (or screen-to-screen) portion and then e-mail the full contents to participants for deeper reading later. Or provide items such as benchmarking data ahead of time so the question-and-answer session can be more productive.
3 – Letting distractions impact your productivity. Sponsors want information, stakeholders have requests, and vendors need to discuss updated pricing data. Unfortunately, these little interruptions can lead to big productivity losses. If this is a problem for you, try dividing your time—or your tasks—into chunks. Set aside a finite amount of time several times each day, for example, where you do nothing but send and respond to e-mails. Tackle data input in batches to prevent the information from piling up (and to keep you from wasting time logging into the system umpteen times a day). Also consider making status updates, progress reports, work disruption schedules, budget data, and other project information available on demand, so stakeholders and sponsors don’t need to contact you when they want the latest news.
4 – Failing to set clear expectations because reality is upsetting to sponsors or team members. When a PMP® doesn’t establish solid baseline expectations, they’re bound to spend considerable time defending why the real world isn’t panning out to be what stakeholders were promised. It’s far more efficient—not to mention less stressful—to simply set realistic expectations and work through any angst up front rather than spend the entire project tiptoeing around the issues. Stop setting yourself up for problems.
5 – Working during every lunch hour. It’s time you started taking a few breaks. Yes, PMP®s often have too much on their plates and stakeholders are clamoring for attention now, now, now. But setting aside time each day to allow your brain to rest and recharge is a good thing. You’ll have more energy, better ideas, better critical thinking skills, and better communication skills when you step back for a break now and then.
6 – Letting personality conflicts dampen progress. It’s important to let people be themselves, but don’t allow issues between team members to impact your ability to get things done. Sometimes we get caught up in drama, sometimes we’re uncomfortable (or exasperated) with meetings that routinely go off topic or brainstorming sessions that devolve into bickering. When holding an event, set an agenda and let everyone know you plan to stick to it. If a coworker diligently berates someone’s ideas, allow them to say their piece and then move on. Avoid the drama and get more done.