How well organised are you and how well organised do you need to be to be an effective project manager?
This was a question raised on one of our recent project management courses by one of the participants and caused a lot of discussion and problems for some of those present.
Problems for those present; this was because several did not feel they were well organised. They were surprisingly open and honest and cited:
• desks piled high with papers
• creating to do lists and losing them creating further lists (effectively wasting time and doing ‘busy work’
• having a reputation for being late – at meetings, at delivering key milestones and checking on team members delivery of tasks
Two people in the project management course were very quiet and when I brought them into the discussion they said they felt they were organised, had good systems (including diary management), and in general felt that this contributed to them being effective project managers.
So, I issued a challenge to the quiet ones on the project management course; why not help those on the course who said they were not very well organised? They readily accepted the challenge and I left them to work out how this could be done. I did however ask for feedback. The results were encouraging (3 weeks after the course ended):
• I now have a diary management system which I have just about got used to. It will help me plan my time much better
• I am no longer late for meetings. In fact I get there too early
• My desk is a lot tidier and I am aware of the need for paperwork to be filed and kept to a minimum
The bottom line message was that they felt better organised. Like any project the impact of these changes may take a while to come through, however, as one person said: “I now feel I will be a better project manager.”
So, what do you think? Are your organisational skills helping or hindering you to deliver your projects and do you need to be well organised to be an effective project manager?