Is it possible that you feel drowned some weeks and you feel like you are floating in the ocean of project management?
This week has been a drowning one. I now have two small projects to deal with. The smaller the project, the more work it seems. I spent my time re-cutting Excel files, checking duplicate records within Access databases, and other fascinating tasks. The big projects are progressing surprisingly well. Despite all the operational concerns pulling my developer this way and that, replanning this past week revealed that we have actually only lost one-and-a half days of development time. Hallelujah.
A little bit of good news is floating by in the endless ocean of database projects: my book is now available for pre-order at the BCS. If you like these little bits of PM advice, ask for it to be published for Christmas.
This was a way to make up for the embarrassing moments when I had to step in front of my computer. It is easy to make mistakes when you are so busy with projects. Here are my top two mistakes of the week.
A mail was sent to 30 applicants, informing them that the password system was temporarily unavailable. However, it contained the wrong dates and times, and even referred to another IT system.
Inadvertently sending a message to my French team to my contact in Singapore without checking the recipients. She replied that she couldn’t understand it, and asked me to translate it for her. Yes, I simply typed the first few letters of my email address and then waited for Outlook’s auto-population to fill in the rest.
What have I learned from this time of drowning? What have I learned from this period of drowning? Although I use a paper list for my work, it doesn’t work for everyone. You can try other methods until you find one that works for you.
Your project plan can be used to list your administrative tasks and project activity
Use your Blackberry
Keep the list in Outlook Tasks
If you can, keep the list in your head! Although this makes me feel worse after a few days it seems to work for some people.
Knowing what to do is only half of the challenge. Knowing when to do it can be a different skill. Learning how to prioritize is another skill. Prioritization is what will allow you to get the most from your time.
Start by listing down all the tasks you have to complete. Start by listing out the tasks. Determine their relative importance and urgency. Some tasks are extremely important, but not urgent – at the very least for today. Projects and priorities change so frequently that what is urgently required for tomorrow may suddenly become less important, giving you more time to concentrate on something else.