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Time management is crucial for the success of any manager and project managers are not an exceptions. During my consulting experience I got a chance to mentor few project managers at different level. One common problem I observed with most of them was that they were completely exhausted. As they accepted the ownership to deliver project on time and with best quality in challenging environment they were overwhelm. They were working late night and long hours to make sure that nothing missed and everything was on track. At the end of the project this lead to the frustration and counter affect the project itself.

    What could be done to help them is my obvious questions as management consultant?

In most of the cases I used to sit with them and do passive observation of the work they do. I took at least couple of days before giving any advice or input to the project managers.

Let me share one of real life example from my recent consulting assignment.

Mr X was an IOS team leader in his recent organization and get an opportunity to become associate Project Manager from well-known IT company. Mr. X was very happy to have this job. However, the life at new company turn into lot of frustration as he realized that even working for 12 hours a day, management is not happy with him. Not only his personal life got effected while focusing on his career but also he got no success in his job as well.

When I met Mr. X first time, we exchanged couple of thoughts and pains of real life challenges. Since then I started observing his day to day life and activities. I spend couple of time passively observing what Mr.X do in 12 hours of the work every day.

I noted few points which I have mentioned below.

Firstly Mr. X was working in different time-zone.

Secondly Mr. X has realized that there were lot of dependencies in the project and if not resolved on time this can delay the project delivery. Being a fixed cost project, delay in deadline means more cost and less profit to the company.

Thirdly Mr. X took the full ownership to resolve all this dependencies and spend every day 2-3 hours to follow up with client and make sure that team get what it requires to complete assigned task.

Fourthly Mr. X was also writing daily status mail to the client keeping boss in cc. He felt that keeping boss in cc was all he can do to keep pressure on client.

After observing these points , I met Mr. X in cafeteria again and adviced him few things to do which were as follows :-

  1. I told him that its really good that he was sending daily status mail to the client and keeping boss in cc. However, this kind of mail was not effective for the person who is getting daily hundred of mails so, this was not sufficient if he wanted to get the attention his boss or expects any kind of action from him. Then, I suggested him to write one personal mail to his boss casually and list down all his project related challenges and yes of course ask for the advice.

  2. Next, I suggested him that being a part of every communication is good but it is not good especially for his situation because his team get habitual about it. By over helping his team members , he is going to kill their ownership and enthusiasm and ultimately they will become followers and will not encouraged to take initiative. I advised Mr. X to fully equip his team members regarding how to resolve dependencies from the client. I asked Mr. X to first set the KRA for the team members to resolve dependencies of their own and asked them to try their level best and only help when it is not doable by them.

  3. Finally, I told him to appreciate the team members time to time who resolve the dependencies by their own so that they can get motivated to put more efforts in their work. Guide them on communication and email etiquette. Spend time with the team members and discuss in open the time issues so that they can also feel involved. Share and celebrate small success with team and boss.

Since then Mr X religiously followed my advice and he was able to manage project in less than 8 hours a day. Now currently he is confident to manage one more project.

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Managing your own time being a Project Manager

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