How Would You Like To Have An 6-Step Guide to Managing Projects?


Posted on 06.9.10   |   1,360 Comments »

In this video, I’m asking for your input about what I can give you to help you get your projects done. Please leave me a comment in the box below, I really appreciate it.

Specifically, I’d like to know:

1) If you like the idea of a product that focuses on how to manage a project.
2) A product that gives you templates, tools and step-by-step procedures.
3) Whether you’d like the training all at once so you can get started, or whether you’d like it spread across 6-8 weeks so you can take your time.

Also, enter your NAME and EMAIL in the box to the right; I’ll send you copy of the Six Simple Steps I’ve used to get projects done for small groups and companies like Disney and Toyota. Getting a project done does not have to take over your life, create team drama, or be completely overwhelming. You can begin using this system to successfully implement a project right now.

Thanks and talk to you soon!

Tony



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Beyond Scrum’s ‘Promised Land’


Posted on 03.9.10   |   1,350 Comments »

If you’re in software/web development project management, you’re probably familiar with Scrum or at least heard of it or other Agile development methodologies.

Because Point Man’s principles are in alignment with those of Agile and Scrum methodologies, Point Man uses the artifacts of Scrum like a Daily Standup, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review etc for implementing the Point Man Project Leadership system.  So I’ve included FREE SCRUM TRAINING in my Getting Predictable Success training series.  Scrum training is typically priced at $1,500 for a 2 day course and I’M GIVING IT TO YOU FREE!

I’m doing this because there’s something missing in Scrum- SOMETHING BIG MISSING.  You’ve probably either tried to implement Scrum yourself or know of others who have.  And most likely they’ve experienced… marginal improvements over the old ways they used to do projects- likely in the range of 15% increases in velocity/productivity.  But others implementing Scrum have experienced 400%-1000% increases in velocity/productivity!  WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THIS HUGE DISPARITY IN PRODUCTIVITY IS NOT HOW WELL YOU IMPLIMENT SCRUM BUT RATHER THE LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES WITH WHICH YOU IMPLEMENT AGILE/SCRUM!!!

I’ve developed Point Man to explicitly identify and teach those leadership principles that directly correlate to the 400%-1000% increases in Velocity/Productivity.

And, since one of Point Man’s principles is to only do what works and do what matters, it makes sense to use what’s already out there. I could have chosen to re-invent the wheel and developed an entirely new project management methodology, but that wouldn’t have been efficient OR a good use of our time. I like to say that Point Man picks up where Scrum leaves off.

You see, Scrum gives great procedural guidelines and mechanics, so we often reference Scrum mechanics and terminology. But what I’ve found is that Scrum leaves out any training for the understanding of the key leadership principles that make it work. It’s kind of like taking a person who’s never cooked before, and giving them a recipe with loose guidelines. They will follow the recipe exactly, and with luck they might be successful, but more often than not they won’t be able to navigate the recipe because they lack basic understandings of food and cooking. And, if something goes wrong during the process? Forget about it! They’ll have no way to improvise or deal with unexpected. Point Man for projects is like Culinary School to recipes – we’re teaching you all of the underlying principles that makes a Project Managers a successful leader.

It works like this.  There are only 6 procedural aspects of Scrum.  Yes, there are only 6: the Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Daily Burn down Review, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective.  So Point Man uses these great procedures and tools (like Sprint Backlog, Product Backlog) to run projects.  The procedures are great. They serve their purpose well.  But the critical point here is to understand their purpose- they are management and leadership TOOLS.  THEY DO NOT SHOW YOU HOW TO MANAGE OR LEAD.

In my consulting over the last several years, I’ve had many a discussion with Scrum practitioners about why some Scrum team experience 400%-1000% increases in productivity over the way they used to do projects while most only get a 15% increase.   I moderated a panel of Scrum experts in discussing this topic.  The answers as to why this happens were: lack of experience, lack of deep understanding of Agile and Waterfall (the typical way projects are done) and lack of expertise in Change Management.

Take a step back and look at these answers.  What are they telling you?  It saying that to get 400%-1000% increases in productivity, you need… LEADERSHIP!   AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT MY POINT MAN PROJECT LEADERSHIP SYSTEM GIVES YOU!

If this strikes a chord with you at all, then try my Point Man Leadership System RISK FREE through my Money Back Guarantee!!

Dedicated to Your Project Success,

Tony

PointManProjectLeadership.com

ProjectLeadershipAdvice.com

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The Big Ah-Ha that Changed Everything for Me!


Posted on 03.3.10   |   1,348 Comments »

The things I’m about to tell you are simple… but they took me a while to figure out.   This is hard-fought wisdom….

After many hard years of Project Management, I finally realized that at the core of many- if not all- Project Management Problems was THE ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTION that the PROJECT MANAGER’S JOB WAS TO CREATE A GRAND PLAN THAT LAID OUT THE ENTIRE PROJECT BEFORE IT STARTED…. AND THEN find a way to MANIPULATE, “MOTIVATE” or otherwise FORCE the project team to ADHERE TO THE PLAN!

As a topper to this, was the assumption that this was not only possible but it was THE RIGHT WAY TO DO A PROJECT!  WRONG!

At the core of this point of view is what I call “Making Reality Fit the Plan.” I erroneously thought that the problem and solution lay within me.  Yes and no.  The problem did lie within me but the solution was and is always right in front of me.  The solution is… THE TEAM!

Yes, the problem was in me.  The problem was that I thought I had to get the team to do things.  It was my job to “motivate” them, manipulate them into doing things I thought they had to be “managed” to do.

Yes, the problem was this exact thinking.  And I’ve seen this thinking in every company I’ve worked for, with or advised.  It’s everywhere (you know why?  Because the project management world is a small community and they all pull from the same talent pool and Project Managers “learn the ropes” by watching their peers).

This Point of View – where the Project Manager is to create a plan to predict how the project will proceed and then force the project to fit that reality… is at the root of many of the symptomatic problems we experience like:

  • Scope Creep (coming from our assumption that we can get the entire scope in one fell swoop)
  • Budget Overages (coming from the assumption that one project manager with some team leads can guess what the exact effort will be for the entire project and then translate that into dollars accounting for every hour of every day of every week and month of the project)
  • Schedule Delays (comes from the assumption that if we can determine the entire effort, then we can determine the schedule.  The gravest mistake being that you translate 40 hours of effort into 1 person week when in fact at the very least it’s more like a week and a half to accomplish 40 hours of project effort)
  • Client expectations (this is a big one for agency owners.  Of course this one is going to be almost impossible to set correctly when it’s made on the shaky Time, Cost and Scope foundations I just laid out above.)

This one simple shift in thinking completely changed my approach to
Project Management.

In fact, I no longer view it as Project Management but Leadership because I don’t “manage” people anymore.  Why?  BECAUSE I FINALLY REALIZED TEAMS DON’T NEED TO BE MANAGED.  EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, PROJECTS GET WORSE WHEN YOU “MANAGE” THEM!

You see, not until you recognize and acknowledge the current paradigm – or Box We Operate in- for what it is, why it exists and how it exists, you’re bound to do the things that all companies do like trying to solve things with MORE TECHNIQUES:

  • Changing a process
  • Adding more process
  • Using new cool tools
  • Getting more people
  • Getting different more experienced people….and on and on…

And you’ll also be destined to do these things to little or no effect.   Why?  Because you’re just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  You’re band-aiding a system that is designed and has proven to FAIL.   I’ve seen this take place over and over again at multiple agencies.

But once you do fully understand the current Box, you’re able and free to design something else – SOMETHING THAT WORKS!

Dedicated to Your Project Success,

Tony

PointManProjectLeadership.com

ProjectLeadershipAdvice.com

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Who’s taking care of the Project Manager?


Posted on 02.28.10   |   1,351 Comments »

How to Avoid the Most Common Project Failure & Ensure YOU’LL Be Successful

Here’s what most project managers do when a project is about to start: they HURRY UP AND GET STARTED.  There’s pressure from the team, from the sales person, from the VP, from the client to “hurry up and get started.”  And when this happens, it’s a rush to do your best to make sure the project is successful.  Right?  It’s Time, Cost and Scope estimations first.  Then it’s the contract.  Then it’s getting to know the client.  Then it’s the Team.  Then it’s your boss.  And as soon as you start to think about who to take care of next, it’s “Ah!  “The first deliverable is due.”  Or “we have a presentation in a couple days.”

But what’s missing here?  YOU.  You’re missing from this equation.  Who’s looking after you and your success?  The team?  Your boss?  The customer?  NO.  Not them.  So who is?  Sadly, no one.

Look at it this way:  if you’re taking care of everyone else, who’s going to ensure you’re taken care of?  That you get all your needs met so that you can continue to take care of the team?   You’re the one leading the team right?  You’re looking after the all-important Time, Cost and Scope.  So who’s looking after YOUR SUCCESS? The answer again is no one.  YOU NEED TO LOOK AFTER YOU!

Here’s an analogy: I like to think of this in terms of the oxygen masks on airplanes. ”In case of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will automatically drop from the ceiling. Please secure your own mask first before assisting others.” This makes sense on a plane because, let’s face it, you’re not much help to the person sitting next to you if you can’t breath. Just as in your projects, you can’t be much help to your team if you’re flailing with your work – or, more appropriately – unless you’re successful first..

Before we go further, I’d like to start with an exercise. I find that these exercises really help you to EXPERIENCE my message, rather than me just TELLING you. And with many of my exercises, this is pretty simple. All you’ll need is a piece of paper and a writing utensil (are you seeing a pattern here?)

First, draw a line down the center of the page. On the left-hand side of the paper, I want you to write down your personal criteria for a successful project. What does ‘’successful” mean to you? Now, on the right-hand side of the sheet, write down your company’s or client’s idea of a successful project. Maybe this is something they’ve told you verbally or maybe it’s clearly stated in a company manifesto or contract, or maybe it hasn’t been written down at all but it’s ”understood.”

Now just take a moment to compare the two columns. Are they exactly the same, vastly different, or somewhere in the middle? Does one side have higher standards than the other? Did you have a hard time defining one side or the other? Maybe you just didn’t even know the answer…

What I’m getting at here is that every individual person, be it project manager or CEO, has a different idea of what ‘’success” means. And with all of these different definitions floating around, often without ever being communicated, how is a Project Manager, who is ultimately responsible for the ‘’success” of a project, supposed to make that happen? And maybe more importantly, how others evaluate whether you are successful or not?

Just think about how a lot of projects start. The client comes to your team or company with a project. The sales guy works with the client to seal the deal. The client wants to get started right away so their project can be realized. The sales guy wants to get started right away so he can get his commission. The team wants to get started right away so they have enough time to finish the project. The CEO wants to get started right away so they can get cash flowing through the door. Everyone wants to get started right away, and they’re looking to you to make that happen. But each person has a different stake in the project. While you’re feeling all this pressure to ”just get started” for the benefit of everyone else, YOU’RE the one ultimately responsible for figuring out HOW to do it and HOW to make the project successful. I’ve even created a formula out of this exact scenario:

Not having a concept of the success criteria or measurements + a rush to get started = FAILURE!

It’s a good idea to make sure that you take time to define YOUR stake in the project first to ensure that things go the way you want them to – successfully!

Implicit expectations of success

What I’ve just touched on here is one of the biggest and scariest underlying components of Project Manager fear, frustration and burnout – these implicit expectations of success that are never communicated and never tracked, but ARE your responsibility and your burden. And I describe this as an underlying component because often not only is the Project Manager not aware of these expectations, but neither are clients, bosses or company owners. All of these people only know when they haven’t been met, and by then it’s too late. WAY too late for a successful project conclusion. And too late for YOUR success!

So obviously the best time to clear up these expectations is before a project even starts (hence the reason this video is one of the first in this training). And you could do this the hard way by meeting with your client or CEO and trying to get them to verbalize what they expect. And maybe you would get the standard answer of ”Time, Cost and Scope” but even if you got that, it wouldn’t be the whole story.

The Formula

And, frankly, I’m not here to make you do that hard work. I’ve spent the last 14 years doing that hard work. Running projects and fine-tuning my process through EXPERIENCE. I’ve run projects that were wildly successful by all measures and recognized as such by all parties. I’ve had projects that were…not good and were recognized accordingly. But up until I devised the system I’m about to share with you, I experienced projects that were in that weird gray area. They may have been under budget or on time or met the scope requirements, or any combination of two or even three of those factors. The client or CEO may have thought the project successful, but the team did not. Or vice versa. Or I thought the project bombed but nobody else did. So I started realizing that whatever was out there, it just wasn’t enough. There was something else, some magic ingredient, some special spark that took a project from grey in to ”the black” as they say in accounting.

And it took me years to figure out exactly what that was. I started analyzing the crap out of my projects, past and present. I started collecting data. I asked around. I did everything I could do get an answer to the question, ”What is success?”

The formula gave me the answers…and it tells me when I can go home!

And not only did I get the answer to THAT question, but I got the answer to an even bigger question that EVERY Project Manager asks themselves on a day-to-day basis…What, exactly, is expected of me? What am I supposed to be doing? How do I know when my job is done? When can I go home?

Now this may seem like a question with a straightforward answer, like a job description, but believe me, the depth and breadth of the answer will amaze you. Because, this isn’t just about your projects anymore. Sure, you’re going to learn what makes your projects successful and you’re going to be able to make that happen. But this training goes even further than that. It’s going to take your experience one level above your projects and give you more clarity around your role as a Project Manager. Knowing what’s REALLY expected of you is going to open up amazing new insight that you’ve never had before. You’re going to feel like a mind-reader, being able to anticipate your boss or client’s needs, arguments and requests before THEY’VE even thought of them. And it’s going to absolutely skyrocket your ability to run a project, and your value in the eyes of your superiors. This is the confident feeling of having all the answers on your final exam, without the guilt of cheating. And finally, you’ll know when you’ve done your job and it’s time to go home, even if it’s only lunch time.

The Hexagon of Success

So what’s this hard-won wisdom I’ll be sharing with you today? In short, it’s my proprietary success standards that I call The Hexagon of Success. (and I bet you didn’t know you were getting a bonus geometry lesson today, huh?) You may have heard of the software development triangle which, as I mentioned before, is the success of a project based on three factors: Time, Cost and Scope. But as I, and probably you, have experienced, there is WAY more to a project than Time, Cost and Scope.

Through my many years of analysis on my projects, I was able to record ALL of the possible factors that go into making a successful project. And, because obviously a list THAT large would be completely overwhelming and absolutely useless, I was able to boil everything down to SIX factors that are THE MOST IMPORTANT DETERMINING CRITERIA A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT. These are the six that really matter. The six that most people can’t articulate, but are running around in the back of their mind. These are the six things that you’re being judged on, and probably never knew.

The six criteria that a project must meet for ALL PARTIES to recognize the success of a project are:

  • Cost within budget
  • On time
  • On scope
  • High client satisfaction
  • High quality product
  • High team satisfaction

And, as an added bonus, I like to insert ”Predictability” in the middle of the hexagon because, when all these success criteria are met, that’s what you get – Predictable Success. And predictability puts your mind at ease. It lets you sleep at night. It feels peaceful. Not only for your boss or your client, but for YOU too.

Dedicated to Your Project Success,

Tony

PointManProjectLeadership.com

ProjectLeadershipAdvice.com

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What’s Project Management like for you?


Posted on 02.26.10   |   1,375 Comments »

I have some critical questions to ask you.  Be brutally honest with yourself here.

  • Have you lost that “in-control,” “got-it-together” feeling that you always used to have?
  • Are you fully recognized and appreciated for the hard work you put in?  Or are people resisting you, making your job that much more difficult?
  • Does everyone acts like a perfect project, without problems, is possible when everyone KNOWS it’s not, yet you’re the only one who feels responsible for making that “perfect project” happen??
  • Is there never a moment’s peace?  The work day starts full throttle at 8:30am and continues at 100% through 8pm
  • DO YOU ENJOY YOUR WORK?
  • Do you ever feel like you’re just on a hamster wheel, running and running???
  • DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE CONTRIBUTING TO ANYONE’S LIFE IN A MEANINGFUL WAY?
  • Do you ever finish the workday completely exhausted and look back wondering what you actually did?  Or how about working a long exhausting day of hard work, only to find that your To Do list has gotten longer?  Or this one- you’re exhausted at the end of the day… and even more exhausted at the end of the week… and more exhausted at the end of the month?  YEAR?
  • Ever ask yourself how much more of this you can take?  Or want to take- if it doesn’t get better?
  • What about “successfully” delivering a project to a client but paying for it with your team members’ long hours and weekends away from their families or WORSE YET with YOUR LONG HOURS, TIME AWAY FROM YOUR FAMILY AND EVEN WITH YOUR HEALTH?

Couldn’t Project Management be more like this?  Shouldn’t it be more like this?

  • Work less, make more money
  • You’re appreciated by your team and boss.
  • Your work is fulfilling.
  • Have more personal time.
  • Have peace of mind that the time you put into the project is ENOUGH to get you to success- and that putting in more will NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE- it will only make you miserable. Feel accomplishment at the end of the day.
  • Keep up with your To Do list and add more “Check Marks” to your list every day!
  • Feel like you’re in control…. AGAIN!
  • Get all your work done, ensure success and go home early.
  • Only do what matters.
  • Sleep easy at night knowing you did the best you could and that the project WILL be successful regardless of what the constant barrage of thoughts in your head are telling you.
  • Have a professional life that works with your personal life! Spend more time with your family. Spend more time with your friends. Spend more time… just by yourself! (Project Automation via self-directed teams, workability, getting the whole system working)

What are your thoughts?  I want to know.

Dedicated to Your Project Success,

Tony

PointManProjectLeadership.com

ProjectLeadershipAdvice.com

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Point Man Project Leadership Video Training


Posted on 02.22.10   |   1,362 Comments »

For years- actually many, many years… 14 of them to be exact – I’ve been a consultant in software and web development. And for the past 4 years, I headed up my own Project Management consultancy, advising other companies on how to improve their project management practices. I’ve dedicated my career to teaching others how to make Project Management work FOR their professional and personal lives.

In 2009, I shifted my business to develop and create some tools and techniques for Project Managers based on my proven methods I’ve used in my business. At some point I’ll tell you more, but for now, I just want you to check out my video- http://www.pointmanprojectleadership.com/freetraining and let me know what you think.

There’s a lot of good stuff up there that addresses why Project Management can be SO PAINFUL and what can be done about it!

Your feedback is very much welcomed.

Dedicated to your project success,

Tony

PointManProjectLeadership.com

ProjectLeadershipAdvice.com

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Create a Professional Life that works for your Personal Life!


Posted on 02.18.10   |   1,361 Comments »

In my last blog post , “Designing a NEW machine,” I wrote about leaving that old Project Management life of tedium, isolation, frustration and pointless managing behind you and designing a new machine- that is designed for your personal and career satisfaction and fulfillment.

This is what the Point Man Project Leadership System is all about.  The key to being able to do this is what I call COMPLETING THE CYCLENot until you fully ACCEPT that the old project management machine is producing what it is designed to produce and that it’s completely fine the way it is- will you be able to leave that project management life behind you.

And not until you leave that old Project Management life behind you (the one that sucks the life out of you, that causes you to work late nights pointlessly answering emails and updating GANTT charts), will you be able to create a professional life that works for your Personal Life!

You HAVE TO Complete that Cycle before moving on.  In my Getting Predictable Success training, there are exercises and more in-depth training to help facilitate you doing this, but essentially, you gotta ‘make peace’ with that old way so that there’s nothing left hanging, nothing nagging at you, no resentment- no “hanging chads” if you will.  Once you fully get that world and understand how the machine works, you’ll have the choice to leave it behind you.  Leave. It. Behind. You.

And once you do this, you’ll experience a sense of SPACE.  A sense of freedom.  A sense of completion. Then in that space, you’ll be free to design the professional project management life that works for your personal life.  One that works to produce satisfaction, fulfillment and purpose!

But until then, all efforts to “fix” this old project management life will be… patches.  They’ll be “fixes” that produce little to no long lasting nor truly impactful results.  Trust me I’ve been there.  I’ve tried.  It always turns out the same.  It works like this way because all the fixes will happen inside the old project management paradigm or machine.  It’s like putting a drop of yellow into a sea of green – the yellow is swallowed up and turns green itself (I took that one from my Zen Master.  Thanks Yoshin!)

Dedicated to Your Project Success,

Tony

PointManProjectLeadership.com

ProjectLeadershipAdvice.com

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Designing a New Machine


Posted on 02.1.10   |   1,356 Comments »

If you’ve been reading my posts, by now you’re fully aware that Project Management is broken.  It doesn’t work.

BUT ALSO, by now, you may have had a brief or vague SENSE OF RELEIF.  Relief in knowing that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault.

That “got-it-together” person you used to be and love so much is… Still There.  You’re just working inside a broken machine.

The actual view from my desk - the beach!Well today is the day to CREATE A NEW MACHINE- one that’s specifically designed to – not only- create successful projects that contribute to your professional career but one
THAT’S DESIGNED TO CREATE A PROFESSIONAL LIFE THAT WORKS FOR YOUR PERSONAL LIFE!

You see, conventional wisdom holds that project management is painful. But I realized that only conventional project management is painful.   I created a system that not only met time, cost and scope but also a system DESIGNED to produced quality projects with satisfied clients AND satisfied teams AND THAT GAVE ME PERSONAL SATISFACTION, JOB FULLFILLMENT, COMERADERIE, A SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT!  IT GAVE ME MY SENSE OF PURPOSE BACK AND GAVE ME MY LIFE BACK!

The Point Man system is a culmination of 14 years of Project Management in software development.  Working on countless dozens of projects, countless more projects where I managed other project managers and their projects.  It takes what works and only what works and distills it into a simple set of skills, knowledge and tools for the project manager so that YOU CAN HAVE YOUR LIFE BACK AND KEEP YOUR HIGH PAYING JOB AND HAVE A LONG FULFILLING CAREER IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT….AND ENJOY IT!

My project management system – Point Man™ - dispenses with the idea that project management is doomed to tedium, pain and iffy success rates.  Through the training you’ll not only cover the fundamentals of project management and completing projects successfully, but I’ll teach you these things within the context of how to be Professionally AND Personally fulfilled, satisfied and EXCITED about being a Project Manager!

If this is of interest to you- sign up for my training- risk free through my Money Back Guarantee!

Dedicated to Your Project Success,

Tony

PointManProjectLeadership.com

ProjectLeadershipAdvice.com

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The Project Management Death Spiral: I’ve been there…


Posted on 01.20.10   |   1,362 Comments »

I want to start by telling you my personal story.  I’m just like you.  I grew up in project management, learned it from the ground up – the hard way.  I was thrown into the deep end and it was sink or swim.  And I swam.  Slowly, after I had proven to my boss and team members that I could swim, I received some training.  I got my PMP and I started rising through the ranks.  Project Manager, Senior Project Manager, Program Manager, Director of Project Management etc.

But somewhere along the way – somewhere around the time I was promoted to Sr. PM, things changed.  No longer were things “easy” and “natural.”  I used to be able to “control” every aspect of the project, just like I was able to control everything else in my life.  I kept track of every detail, knew what each person was doing and was supposed to be doing, was in constant communication with the client, knew every aspect of the project scope etc.  But then something happened.  I started having to work longer hours.  First, it was 9 hour days 5 days a week.  Then it was 10 hour days sometimes more.  I found myself going home and taking calls and answering emails after dinner.

The Project Manager Death Spiral

This is when the downward “spiral” happened to me.  From this point on, it was all a game of catch-up.  I was always trying to keep up with the project and the changes.  Changes!  No!  The contract didn’t allow for changes!   So I spent more and more time, making sure nothing changed.  Negotiating with the client.  “Managing” the client so that they stayed in the box the contract had dictated.  More and more time.  More and more energy.  5 days a week. Morning and nights… uh, 7 days a week sometimes.   Weeks went by.  Months went by.  Finally, the project was done!  We launched!

And it was a quote a “success.”  But somehow the feelings associated with “success” just weren’t there.  I had just “led” my team to project completion and success.  But I didn’t feel any of that.  Neither did my team members.  We were exhausted and just glad it was over.    A week later, the next project came and the cycle started over.  Same thing.  More time.  More energy.  Same result.  Exhaustion.

After a while of this, I figured the company I worked for “just didn’t have their shit together.”  So I quit.  I moved on to bigger and better things.   I got a promotion to Program Manager and got a lot more money.  Cool!  I thought I was ‘’there’’.  Right on, I thought.  I’m in control now. This is going to be different.  Nope.  More of the same- in fact A LOT MORE.

Months and years past.  It was the same.  A couple of years into it, I was burnt out again. I started talking to those who’d been in this industry for longer than I had.  I talked to my peers.  I watched those who were just starting out as Project Managers.  And I noticed something.

We were on the same path.  We were all following the same cycle!!  Work more and more until we were burnt out for the day.  Then we went home with a headache and couldn’t even enjoy the fact that we were home.  We got up the next day and charged forward again.  Until we were burnt out again and left with a headache.

We did this for 5 or 6 days a week until we started WAKING UP WITH A HEADACHE…and we kept doing it until we were ABSOLUTELY burnt out.   So we quit our jobs for a “better one”- Something that gave us more responsibility and more money.   And we did this until we couldn’t take it anymore and burnt out.  Then I saw those ahead of me just…  leave.  Leave all together.  Quit the industry.  Quit their jobs.  They just couldn’t take it anymore- or more accurately, they didn’t want to take it anymore.  It just wasn’t worth it…

If you can relate to this, in my next post, I’ll talk about what we can do about it!

Dedicated to Your Project Success,

Tony

PointManProjectLeadership.com

ProjectLeadershipAdvice.com

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Multi-tasking… A WASTE OF TIME!


Posted on 01.16.10   |   1,353 Comments »

We’re seeing more and more research emerge that warns against the inefficiency of multitasking. What was once touted as a necessary job skill has now proven to be counter-productive as efficiency and accuracy decreases. One study done at the University of London found that constant emailing and texting reduces mental capability by an average of ten points on an IQ test (five points for women and fifteen points for men).

Yikes. Not only does multi-tasking affect your focus, but it actually affects your intelligence!

In today’s world it may seem impossible to cut out all the interruptions, but lucky for you, it’s not. I’ve been in this business for 14 years, and it’s taken me that long to figure out how, but I’ve managed to create a system that shows you how to work with focus and efficiency and go home early!

To show you WHY this system is so important, take a look at the results from this study by the University of California. They found that in a typical busy office environment, employees are interrupted every 11 minutes. That’s 43 interruptions a day. But that’s not the worst part. After an interruption, it takes the average person another 25 minutes before they can refocus on what they were doing before the interruption. With this level of daily distraction, you might find yourself at the end of the day having accomplished absolutely nothing, which is often the case.

In project management, this is especially apparent. We’re constantly bombarded with email, phone calls, questions, text messages, meetings, etc. How many times have you gone in early or stayed late just so you could “actually get some work done.” As the UC study has shown, there’s a reason we’re most productive when other people aren’t around – because as much as we’d like to believe in it, multitasking doesn’t work.

Lucky for you though, I’ve developed a project management system that helps you re-create that productive, “after-hours” feeling DURING the day. It’s called Point Man, and it values time-boxed focus that lets you complete the task at hand before moving on to the next one. Point Man allows you to pay attention to the things that really matter, leaving the minutiae of typical workday disruptions a dull drone in the background.

For a taste of what I’m talking about, try this exercise next time you have a task at hand that you know is taking WAY longer than it should.

  1. Re-locate yourself to a place where you won’t be distracted. Someplace quiet, someplace secluded. Someplace where no one can find you.
  2. Turn of ALL your electronic devices; cell phone, iPod, computer, land line etc. If you have to use your computer to complete your work, make sure you shut down all distracting programs (email, chat, etc.).
  3. Time-box your work. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 4 hours, set a time and stick to it. For that 15 minutes or 4 hours no email, no chat, no phone calls. Nothing but complete focus on the task at hand.

By following just these simple three steps, you will notice a significant increase in your daily productivity AND you’ll find yourself getting things done faster. It’s worked for me and hundreds of other project managers, and it can work for you too. If you found this helpful, my Point Man system is loaded with more tips and tricks just like this. Visit http://www.pointmanprojectleadership.com/ to learn more.

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