How often do you take the helicopter view?

I have recently emerged from an incredibly busy time. Various courses need to be prepared, researching (including a visit to the it The British Library), writing and discussions with clients.

I was so busy that I did not even have time to blog!

Then I took a step back. In fact, it was to take a helicopter view. You see, I had been conscious of being sucked into course preparation over everything else! I had forgotten others areas of work such as writing, client contact, marketing and even exercising!

I kicked myself (metaphorically) and I am now focussing a lot better.

But just how do you take a helicopter view?

I then wondered about project managers who really are busy. How often do you get sucked in to the detail of the project losing sight of the overall objectives/vision? It is so easily done as I can testify.

But, the key question is this; just how do you do take that helicopter view?

The first suggestion is to have a standing item on any meeting agenda something that checks we are meeting the original business case ideas, including business benefits. Additionally, we need to ensure we are on track to hit the objectives.

This is where people in the team (if you have one) need to be honest and open about how they view the project.

How about some subjectivity to kick start a discussion?

Building on the above, I have been toying with a scoring system for projects. This approach would  be subjective, and would  be based on a number of agreed criteria. I have listed some above, but they are a few of many that could be included in a long list.  At your meetings you can all come along with your scores and compare them e.g. risk assessment:

“I score a 4 out of 10”

“Mmm,  well I score an 8….”

That’s a good place to start to examine.

The key for the project manager is focus, focus and more focus, not to getting lost in the detail.

One final idea is for the project manager to learn and fine tune 2 key skills:

  • how to say no (one project manager he simply does not do many of the business as usual tasks which he and others regard as low priority) which means less distractions
  • the art of delegation: interestingly, this has come up in quite a few courses over the last few months and I have given to course delegates a hand out which many have said is really useful

Of course, these are only a few suggestions helping the project manager to keep focus by taking a helicopter view. What are yours?

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2 Responses to How often do you take the helicopter view?

  1. Pingback: How often do you take the helicopter view? | #PMChat

  2. Pingback: Popular Project Management Blog Posts From The Last 7 DaysProject News Today

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