Archives for posts with tag: Project management


A good project manager follows the invitation to join the evening session with colleagues. We met at seven and we were the last ten guests. We enjoyed fresh brewed beer and wonderful Bratkartoffeln. We didn’t loot to our watch and no one left earlier because of meeting next morning. We had time.

A good project manager don’t speak about work in the bar. Ten of us, responsible for mechanical, electrical, chemical or nontechnical parts of the project, would have enough topics to fill weeks with work related discussions. We spoke about good films (Pulp fiction e. g.) and good music, about bicycle or run competitions, kids stories and other good stuff. We did story telling.

Good project managers are just nice people. That’s end of the story. That’s a beginning of next one.


There is no better time to eliminate and delegate as now. Big chance to get more by doing less, let’s try:

– remove all yellow sticky notes from your desk. Yes, put them in trash. Delete them. Destroy them.

– do the same with all other loose notes and reminders on your desk. If something is really important (need your review or signature e.g.), put it into your 2013 tray. So delete all printed minutes, plans and so ones. Let them disappear from your desk.

– clean your desk. Dispose 2012 calendars. Remove all souvenirs and destructive stuff into a drawer or box.

– for those of the task and things to do which are still in your head, forget your own. You don’t need to think about them during the holiday season. Have the heart to do so!

– for those of the tasks and things to do which are still in your head but belong to someone else, delegate it. I write letters, similar to: “Dear Xxxx, this short notice is to say Hello to 2013. I’m glad to have you in my team (bla bla bla, personal message with some feedback – every feedback is s gift!). In 2012, we had good progress and some ambitions for 2013. To start well please think about #Task#. It is one of most important in our current project phase bla bla. Good start! Nadja”. As also my team members have the right to forget, I will give them the letters next year.

Summarized: Eliminate! Forget! Delegate! Everything what is really important, will come back to you early enough.

Merry Christmas and Happy lazy New Year!

p.s. you can get a wonderful calendar for 2013 HERE

It is your decision

What do you get for passing “GO” in Monopoly? Some (play) money. What do you get for taking over a troubled project? Nothing. The only thing you probably get is a warm handshake and “I am so happy to have you here, you are such an experienced project manager, you know how to master this.”

Welcome to daily madness. Everyone is on the run, due dates are late, the budget is exceeded, the customer moans, stakeholders shake their heads… And if you want to go crazy, don’t you dare to stop doing everything exactly as your predecessor did. Just continue and play your given role.

I did not. I had no wish to end with a burnout. I assessed the project and decided to experiment. I developed and stayed with some personal convictions and I tried some techniques from the Agile project management. I started with a so called “Swedish coffee”. In Sweden – so I was told by one of my team – project teams use to sit in coffee corners and discuss project relevant matters of all kind and priority. No beamer, no agenda, no minutes – just the team and the project (“just the team” means, I was very lucky to have great team members on board!). What we did while we were drinking coffee? We went through risk and actions lists – based on what every one of us had in the head – and we made decisions. Decisions about roles and responsibilities, about customer’s expectations and about priorities, even personal development, touch typing and short cuts in Excel and Word … Very simple but also very important things!

It is very easy

The next step was to involve three of project managers’ best friends in the team: Murphy, Pareto and Eisenhower.

Murphy, because unexpected events make us (project managers) happy: we can show how brilliant and how cool we are. If you have to deal with “green” projects with no issues, you are more or less useless and get totally bored. Pareto is our friend because he has shown that we only need 20% of the designated project resources to get 80% of the desired output done. This works for all team members, not only for the project manager! Eisenhower finally helps to decide which of your tasks you definitely need to do by yourself.

So we sat in the coffee corner, differentiated our tasks into “handle”, “delegate” or “leave”, discussed about soccer and weekend activities and … stressed the nerves of most of the other people in the company. While everyone else was running around like headless chicken, my team and me decided to be lazy and to work less for more fruits. As a new project manager within this organization, I had some doubts if I do experiment too much, but: our project went well, we mastered our tasks, we were nearly on budget and wonderful on time and our customer was – yes no kidding: relaxed.

You are not alone

Have you read the “4 hours week” by Tim Ferris? Some recommendations to eliminate time consuming things are very easy to implement and Tim has a huge number of followers. You want it less general and more related to project management? Read Peter Taylor!

I met Peter in 2010. He spoke about productive laziness in one project management conference, and from this day I knew: I am on the right way. I am not alone. It is possible to reduce effort and still get your project in good shape. It is great to have more free time for proactive planning and team building. And there is absolutely no need to run around as a headless chicken to have success.

My project is in the final phase now. From Peter’s book I learned that the dinosaur is fat in the end and that I need to invest some more hours now. I have enough energy for this, because I was very lazy in the past 4 to 6 months. And you can do it as well!


p.s. This article is also posted by Peter on his blog.

Today a short video impulse about my new way to discuss changes in resource allocation. Before Stattys, we did it with PowerPoint…

Last weekend I’ve been flooding out the mole hills in the garden. Today, the garden looks the same as it did three days ago. When filling the washing machine, I noticed that some of the clothes have been ironed just a week ago. What kind of speed!

A place where I miss that speed is my project. There are not any technical issues that prevent us from completing the project. In the action list we have things like “provide input”, “approve”, “reply,” or “commercial agreement”. How long do I want to wait for this to be done? What can I do to cope under these conditions?

Whenever I have no patience with the administrative stuff, I use Guerrilla tactics. “These minutes shall apply from the day after tomorrow, if there is no coordinated response.” “We start in two weeks with the production of the parts with the material, agreed upon, if by that there is no further objection.” As in wedding – “speak now, or forever hold your peace”.

Working on my project cemetery I was on the verge to kill this blog before I really started. This adventure was neither planned nor budgeted (time is money) in my mindmaps but somehow it got my highest priority. Probably because of the PM Camp I joined?

Working on priorities, I summirized, what this blog is about:

Probably, this is not the right medium for the intended purpose. Time will see.