Project Management: How to Be a Productive Project Manager | Matt Corroboy | Skillshare
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Project Management: How to Be a Productive Project Manager

teacher avatar Matt Corroboy, Projects, leadership, life and mindset.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction

      1:49

    • 2.

      Being an Efficient Project Manager

      3:44

    • 3.

      Managing Others' Tasks

      5:40

    • 4.

      Prioritizing Your Own Activities

      9:32

    • 5.

      Building a Task Calendar & System

      7:30

    • 6.

      Remaining Agile

      6:11

    • 7.

      Final Thoughts

      0:49

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About This Class

Become a more focused and productive project manager with software projects director Matt Corroboy! 

As a project manager you know the importance of staying on top of both other people’s tasks, as well as your own. An often overlooked skill that great project managers possess is agility—the ability to evolve and grow as you lead your team through a project from start to finish. Join Matt as he delves into some key tactics for better managing team projects as well as increasing your own productivity by creating systems to help manage your own time and calendar. 

Together, with Matt, you’ll learn: 

  • The benefits of being an efficient project manager
  • How to manage the tasks of others on your team
  • Key tips for prioritizing your own activities
  • How to build a task calendar in order to implement your system
  • The importance of remaining agile as a project manager 

Whether you are in the middle of a project right now or you’re interested in building lasting habits that will make you a better project manager in the future, this class will provide you with the tools to boost your productivity for yourself and your team! 

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Matt’s class is designed for project managers of all levels, but all students are welcome to participate and enjoy. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Matt Corroboy

Projects, leadership, life and mindset.

Teacher

Hello, I'm Matt Corroboy,

I'm a Software Projects Director in the UK working in the life sciences industry at Waters Corporation and spend my time managing a crack team of amazing project and programme managers spread across the globe.  We fight against the underworld and build amazing software and system solutions that make a difference to the world.  We're very proud of what we do.

In my spare time I write and coach on Project Management, Leadership and mindset.  I'm also author of the greatest book you've never read: 'Life Unlocked', which is aimed at people wanting to get their mind and body into the top 1%.  

It's all a journey... you may as well have fun along the way.

See full profile

Level: All Levels

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: [MUSIC] [BACKGROUND] I've always loved solving problems, creating structure, removing friction and working with people and this has ultimately led me to a rewarding 20 year career in the project management field. Now this is easier said than done. Today's class is going to go through some of the real tactics which will help make you incredibly productive and focused at your job. It's about how to be a productive project manager. [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Matt Corroboy, a software projects director in the life sciences industry. I lead a team of project and program managers delivering system and software solutions amounting to billions of $ of revenue. I'm excited to teach this class as I believe it's part of the secret source to being and feeling in control, to reducing stress levels and being outstanding in your job. It's about being organized and disciplined in order to lead a project, but also about ensuring that you yourself are operating efficiently with high levels of productivity and really good habits. In the class, we'll go through the benefits of being an efficient project manager. We'll talk about how best to manage others tasks on a project, but then move into how to manage your own time, your own work list, and ultimately build a calendar structure and amazing habits that will serve you well. [NOISE] Today's class project is your own project. It's your own work, your own calendar and even if you're not running projects today, then these exercises we'll go through, will still apply. I'll be using examples as we go but this class is now a real opportunity for you to do the one thing that we as humans rarely do, which is assess how we spend our time and look to get it right. As always, as we go through this class, please share your experiences in the project gallery and ask any questions you may have on the discussion boards. Let's jump into the Lesson 1 on the benefits of doing all of this. [MUSIC] 2. Being an Efficient Project Manager: In this lesson, we're going to be talking about the reality of living the life of a project manager and why being organized, efficient, and productive is so important. It's easy to use the opposite for waited. For example, being disorganized, inefficient, and non-productive won't help the life of a project manager. But even a smidgen of these qualities will likely mean that you won't be in a job in the first place. I think we need to explore further the benefits you get from being even more organized and even more efficient in your work. Throughout this class, I'm going to imagine a real-life scenario. Let's say I'm the new project manager brought in to an already struggling project. Let's pretend that the company I work for is planning to launch a new product in about six months time. Maybe there's 20 people working on the project already, there's review boards, financing, and certainly high expectations around what we're going to do within that time frame. This is going to be tricky for sure, and expectations being high, I need to be super organized and efficient in my day to day. It's going to be a necessity. But why will help it to keep my organization skills top-notch in the long run. Well, importance of being efficient and organized here is key. We don't want to be reactive on the project. We want to know what's happening in front of us and we want to make sure that we keep everyone informed where things are up to. Keeping stress levels low and people feeling positive, it's going to be critical. Let's expand on some of these. Firstly, control builds confidence. Running a project with calm and steady hands and a good measure of control will breed confidence in others. The teams and peers you work with, and the management board that may be present will see this in your everyday activities. As a result of that, they're more likely to support you in any extra request for resource, funding, or guidance that you may have. There will be a can-do attitude within the project and the team will be ready to tackle any challenges that might come their way. Secondly, we want to be proactive rather than reactive. If all you're doing as a project manager is reacting to things as they happen, then stress levels for sure are going to be high. One day to the next, you'll be fighting fires and gradually drowning as you lose control of not only the project, but the confidence of the team around you. Your goal here is to stay ahead of things by being efficient and organized in your work. But even when fully in control, there's always going to be times on your project when things do unfortunately go awry when the unknown appears but this must be kept to a minimum. Set the time for the project and how you behave yourself. Set the time for success and others will follow. Remember the stress often comes when we feel out of control and all that's happening is happening to us when we're running out of time and it's all crumbling around us. Being calm and ahead of the core on your activities will keep these moments to a minimum. You'll also have a clear way of operating when pressure points do arise. Thirdly, your career will bloom. If you want to be a project manager, if you want a career in this discipline, if you want to improve, gain promotions, and do good things, then your reputation is going to be key. Being organized, efficient and productive will get you noticed. Your reputation will get amplified and making you even more effective. You will increase the responsiveness from those around you and this will ultimately make you even more successful in your career and what you do. Before we move into the more detailed and tactical of the lessons of this class, I want you to spend a little bit of time now thinking about the project you're on now, think about the type of project manager that you want to be and what being organized, disciplined, and productive would mean for you. I'm going to ask you to use this project throughout this class as we now create a system, a calendar, and an approach that you can use to be as efficient and productive as you can moving forward. 3. Managing Others' Tasks: Being a project manager is the double-whammy of task management, as not only do I need to be really good at managing my own time and my own workload and focus, but I've also got to do the same for others and for those of the project itself overall. Let's go back to the example project from the previous lesson. The projects I've taken on already has a schedule of source in place. But are we on track? Is everybody doing what they should? What needs to happen today, this week, and maybe next? We have to have mechanisms in place here that will allow us to be successful. It's part of our job. Tracking the work and making sure everyone knows what's needed, who's doing what and by when, is going to be key. In all of the following lessons, we're going to be focused on your own work load as a project manager. But before we do so, I want to make sure we spend some time at least looking at how we stay in touch, and in control with those tasks that have been undertaken by others. How do we make sure things are always moving forward when we're not there, and where should we keep our focus? Here are some simple tactics that can really help to show that confidence and control that we talked of previously. These are tactics that will keep others focused in delivering on the tasks that they have themselves. Number 1, over-communicate schedule. One of the most common complaints that I still hear to this day that people don't know what's going on. What are we doing again? Why? What's the point? What's happening next? Communicating a plan or a schedule of source, some roadmap maybe with goals and outcomes, doesn't actually have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the better. It can be a regular email or chat posting, a PowerPoint slide, or maybe even just a whiteboard picture. But doing this is key as it will help people to understand the context better for the tasks they're undertaking now and for later tasks. The law was then be something to point to and you'll help remove some of the more basic excuses for things not being done or being prioritize when you're not there. Number 2, check in regularly with everyone that should have something moving forward. It's easy to say this, but whatever mechanism we use is important to keep an eye on all the tasks and people owning those tasks that are currently in play, so both formally and informally checking on progress regularly and keep an open dialogue. There are many ways that this can be undertaken depending on your project itself. It could be walking up to somebody in the office, your invites to a formal meeting, or just a coffee maybe once a week. Every project for sure will be different here, but the key is to stay in touch. Number 3, make the tracking easier, have rules in place to track progress on tasks more easily. This could be as simple as having no task bigger than two reporting periods. For example, let's say you meet weekly with your team, then by keeping tasks around the week size, then things are either not started, they're either in progress, or they're done. Anything that remains in progress for two reporting periods will just be a red flag for something to look into in more detail, so there might be issues there, maybe the person needs help or there's a new risk that's in there that needs looking at. Number 4, set clear expectations and what you want to see and hear back on. Long status and update meetings should certainly be a thing in the past. If I'm putting a 15-minute progress review in the calendar, then I'm going to try and get that thing done in 10. In order to do this, then the people that attend that meeting or that update, should know what they're going to be asked and they should be prepared for it. If you're chairing an update meeting and bumbling your way through the content and the agenda itself without being fully clear on the inputs and outputs and expectations and the reasons why you're there, then straightaway, your control will be in question. It takes time to do these things right, and we'll cover some of this in later lessons. Number 5, pay particular attention to the critical path. The critical path is the series of tasks that ultimately dictate the end date of your project. If a task slips, is late or no setups to start correctly with the right resources assigned, then this is likely to impact your end date. If you're going to focus on anything with any intensity at all, then do so here. Certainly, also make sure that everyone that has a task or activity on the critical path is aware of this too. You certainly can't blame anyone for saying I'll just finish this tomorrow if they're not aware of the impact and consequences of such a cold mind make. So own the communication here and keep everyone focused. Six, don't overburden people with questions, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. People will dine behind desks, pretend to be on a phone call, walk in the opposite direction, or worse still they'll resent coming to any update meetings you might hold. Make any questions you asked on task progress timely and justifiable. Everyone has jobs to do, and if you set the right expectations at the beginning, then they'll actually coming to you with any information that you might need, not the other way around. Finally, ask for feedback and keep an open door. Always be welcoming to feedback on both the projects and your own performance as a project manager. Be vulnerable and encourage honesty. We're all in this together, and showing your human side gives others the permission to do so the same. Feedback from the team and from your stakeholders and peers is just that, it's feedback. It's something to listen to, learn from, and adjust. It's critical not just for the projects, but with everything you'll ever do in life. That was some quick tactics which will help make the managing of the projects tasks and the progress itself a little more successful. Before we move on on the next few lessons, which we'll look more at your own time and focus, I want you to take a minute to just consider what we've gone through. Could you apply any of these to your project now? Which ones are you doing today that would maybe help keep things moving better? Take the time now to think about how you might apply at least one of these things to your work. We'll then move on to the next lesson as we start prioritizing your very own activities. 4. Prioritizing Your Own Activities: Managing the project's tasks is actually only a small part of being a successful project manager. We dealt with it separately as it's a fundamental one. But if you don't get the rest of your duties clearly squared away, then you're at risk of being completely out of control. We want to be efficient and organized but the reality of being a project manager is it rarely enough hours in a day to be able to do everything to those maximum levels that we'd wish to. There's always going to be compromises along the way. There are choices and that's something that we need to look at as we go through this lesson. For this lesson, we're going to use our example projects and go through all the activities that I need to be aware of in my new project manager position, those things that I need to be routinely servicing. I'm going to go through a series of steps with the goal being to have a clear priority and effort assessment in place on how I'm going to be spending my time and where my focus is going to be on the job. I'm going to use a simple collaboration tool called mirror for this, which you can use for free. But you can also use any other mind mapping tools, maybe Excel or just a pen and paper. The key is that we want to be able to move things around easily when we're listing our works or posted notes on a desk will be just fine. What we're going to do is start here by listing all of the things that I need to be doing in my project manager job. Now the way I like to think about this is trying to list all the tasks that I might need to do in a two week period of time. These a routine tasks that I need to make sure I service on an ongoing basis. I start by just brainstorming those activities. I might need to [NOISE] consider the tracking on the project. I might need to look at risk management, [NOISE] which is important. [NOISE] I might need to deal with the stakeholders. [NOISE] I might need to look at reporting on the project as a key activity that we follow up on. I might need to [NOISE] make sure the financing costing on the project is been dealt with also. These are all activities that I know for my project I need to be doing on a regular basis. I just list them down, brainstorming what those items are. What I also might need to do is actually start listing some elements of what that time and our efforts is going to be whilst I'm doing that work so tracking, for example, that might entail [NOISE] regular update meeting. It might include ad-hoc catch-ups [NOISE] with various different project people. I might need to monitor the critical path for the project. [NOISE] I'm just trying to expand a little bit where my activities and where my time is going to be spent on the project. You've worked your way through this list as best as you possibly can, then what you do, and I'll show you an example that I've made earlier here. Once you've done that, what I want you to do is think about the time that it's going to take to go and spend on each of these tasks. What's the effort that's going to be needed from you as a project manager in order to do them well? I'm not concerned at this point in time with how much time it's going to take as a total. All I want you to think about is if I'm going to do this element of work that I need to do within a two week window, if I'm going to do it to the right levels then how much time is that going to take? As you can see here on the one I created earlier, I've got all my various different pieces of work assigned and listed. I can look and see how much time I've put against each. I'm going to do an update meeting, these is going to be 30 minutes of prep involved with that, and then probably a one hour meeting I'm going to do every two weeks. I might need to spend couple of hours doing ad-hoc catch-ups with people making sure things are tacking along and I'm going to put an hour aside for pure focus on the critical path in the project. The other thing that I want you to do once you put the time against them, is prioritize the activities and this is where it's really useful to be able to use a tool where you can move things around. Again, posted notes perfectly fine on a desk but the ability to be able to look down the list and prioritize your activities is going to be key for what follows next. This can be simple, irrespective of the way that you've structured it. I can start with the top of the list and go right. Tracking is currently number 1, metrics and KPIs, that's the reviewing of data and key performance indicators on the project is a high priority than the time I may spend tracking the state of the project. In this instance, I'm going to leave as it is. But what about risk? Maybe risk management on the project is actually needs to be really key because the project had previously failed and there is challenges on that. What I want to do is maybe move that right to the top of the list and move the other bits further down. Work your way down the list, adjusting the prioritization of the elements within your plan to get to an endpoint. Let's just summarize where we've got to here. We've got a list of all the activities I need to be serviced in a two week period of time. I've got an expanded list of other activities around those and I've got the amount of time it's going to take me to do the job appropriately and they are all in priority order. What we now going to do is move those across to a spreadsheet format so I can actually sum that time and effort up into a total number. Here you can see a very simple summary of where that time spent on the example project that I'm looking at here, and that sums to 44.5 hours. Now, this is really important. I talked about two week period of work. Let's say that amounts to roughly 80 hours of effort or time that you've got in your hands. Now, I could fill those 80 hours with meetings back after back but I need to be careful there. I need to make sure there's time and space in the calendar to deal with things that might come up through the course of the week, I need to make sure there's time for breaks, I need to make sure that there's space for doing actual project where I might need to do myself. Maybe might be some document writing that needs to be done or maybe something's come up and I need to put up some extra meetings in the calendar. Now, you could save 10 percent time for the, 20 percent time for that. But the reality is, and through experience that you need to bring that number right down. My rule of thumb here is probably to look at 40 hours of effort that I have available to me in that two week period of time. We want to get this 44.5 down to 40 hours really and then I'll be comfortable that I've got a plan that's actually usable moving forward. How do we do that? This is all about making compromises and assessing which parts of your focus can be constrained a little bit but yet still deliver. Now, this is where it's really important to prioritize the work because we don't want to start at the top and start shaving time off the thing that's most of highest priority in the list. We start at the bottom and we look at what we said we were going to do in these areas and we can assess whether those activities can be constrained in any way at all. We can start with leadership piece, where I want to communicate key information to the project team and I want to talk about wins and losses now, even though that's low down on the priority list, it's also something that's really important to get done so I'm going to leave that as it is. But then we look at reporting and I've got two hours listed there and I made sure that I'm updating the data needed for the report and then an hour constructing the report itself. This makes me think about how I could potentially constrain that. I think I can probably constrain that down to one and a half hours. Straight away, I'm going to reduce that down. I'm going to find four hours now. Again, we work our way looking at how we can compromise on the amount of effort you're going to commit to do against each of these tasks. I'm going to reduce an hour of the stakeholder engagement. I'm going to get really sharp at the time I spend doing process documentation and project documentation. I'm going to shave a couple of hours of that as well. I'm going to cut down the amount of focus and time on escalation management around 40 hours of work. I've made some compromises, but I'm still spending a significant amount of time on the project. Now this next stage here is actually quite key because I've made some compromises, maybe there are some stakeholders that have slightly different expectations that you won't be able to deliver on. It's really important at this stage to actually talk through the activity of dealing with maybe your boss, maybe your peers, and the core team and talk about some of the areas where maybe you're not able to spend as much time because that number could actually be maybe a lot less for you as you go through your project. That's why it's really important to use a concept that I learned from an entrepreneur called Rob Moore. It's called leverage managed do, so LMD. That's all about looking your workload, where you spend your time and looking at which elements that work are you doing yourself? That's the do part of it. Which parts are you managing other people's activities, for example, in status, meetings, and updates? Which parts are there opportunities for you to leverage others? To recap, we've done a lot here. We've listed our work, we prioritize it, we put time against it, we constrained it where we needed to, and we made compromises where it made sense. We've also set expectations with some of our stakeholders on what our intentions are around managing the project. Before we move on to the next lesson and actually implementing this from a calendar perspective, I want you to now spend the time looking at your own projects and to go through the steps. Of course, it doesn't need to be the same activities as those that I've listed here. You need to use those ones that make sense to you but it's important to go through it. This might take a better time, but I really think it's well worth it to actually sit down and list the effort and the focus areas that you need to be looking at on the project you're working on now and that lay the groundwork for what we do next in the calendar lesson. 5. Building a Task Calendar & System: Now that we have all of our activities listed in order with timings against them, then the next step is to figure out how we schedule this in. Scheduling something in your calendar and blocking the timeout is the first step in ensuring that these things actually do happen. If you don't do this, then you're at risk of other things coming up and you easily skipping some key activities and areas of focus. The philosophy here is get it scheduled, get it done. Let's get back to my new project management position, working on this product launch in six months time, it's time to get myself organized. For this example, we're just going to use a simple Google Calendar, a blank Google Calendar in order to create our two weeks work, but any calendar client will work including just pen and paper. My general approach here is to work in priority order, there's always a risk that something major happens through the course of any period of time, so knowing that you start each of your two-week blocks with a high priority items means you're focusing on the right things only. For example, risk management might be number one on my priority list, so it's important therefor, that I schedule [NOISE] it top of the list on a Monday morning. We can't, however, go blindly through this, it does require some thought, there are activities that you do on your own and there are activities that you will need other people for. If all those are involved in somebody's activities, then make sure you're timing fits with them. Now this is often the hardest part, if you're in at the beginning of the project, then it's often easier as you can set out how you want the project to operate, later on, however, it's often difficult as other meetings and activities may already dominate their calendars. Another really good tip here is to put lead domino activities in the calendar early in the week, for example, project tracking. We might have a tracking meeting early on at the beginning of the week. This is really important because there might be things that come up that require special attention and we might need future meetings in the calendar in order to resolve them, the fact that we capture that early on is really useful. The other tip here is to split meetings up if needed, rather than bringing every single person together for a single status meeting for the project, then break the activities up. Have a status update one, and then maybe a status update two later in the week with different stakeholders invited to those. There's a time and place for when everyone needs to be present, but if your week is setup where everyone has to be in the room for every single update and every meeting you've got scheduled, then you are likely going to be wasting a lot of people's time. There are other ways to communicate, to me this might mean that I meet with engineering on a Monday and a status update there and maybe commercialization on a Tuesday, finance on a Thursday, etc, in order to understand how things are tracking, you can apply this to any type of meeting. Generally with the odd exception, the shorter the meeting the better. On the point of shorter meetings, default calendar meeting size is going to be the death of everyone. Every meeting set is an hour results in a Parkinson's Law outcome. The meeting takes an hour and things are drawn out as a result. Instead do a couple of things and harness the power of Parkinson. Meetings should be by default set to a minimum on your client, for example, 15 minutes. Also, when arranging things in your calendar, then make sure you're setting a clear agenda in the notes with clear expectations on what you'd expect to see, discourse and hear from those people that are attended. If there's a particular outcome that you're expecting then be explicit in areas to what that's going to be. Knowing that you have a short time with a clear agenda drives you to get straight to the point, you will absolutely be seen as a result of being ultra efficient if you do this. It goes without saying that you also shouldn't be putting things in totally back to back, you got to give buffer between meetings. Don't be too optimistic, allow for overruns and the unknown, you also need breaks too. There's a really good studies that say we work best in 40 minute blocks with 20 minutes gaps, and that sounds plausible to me from experience, so I'm going to try it here when I'm building the calendar. But as well as the usual list of work, I do need to make sure I make time for free space for the paperwork or other activities that didn't account for earlier, remember as well as just these activities, you have your own ongoing list of work on top of these things, you might actually be constrained even more by time. Your calendar isn't your only list of work, so use a tool like Trello for keeping a backlog of the work that you need to be paying attention to, and follow similar techniques to prioritize and regular review these entries in the calendar if needed. This is another great thing to do early in the week or even better, last thing on a Friday to layout next week's work. This is especially important if deep work is required on any of these tasks. I consider deep work to be where it will take me more than two hours of intense focus in order to finish. I work through my prioritize list systematically, I'll break out things, give breathing space where needed, I'll put deep work in and I'll keep refining the effort needed as I go through that process to just make sure that things haven't changed from when I did my original assessment. I've finished my first pass a point everything in and as you can see here now in this example, I've got my key fortnightly activities all blocked out. I've also got some deep work sessions which you can see here on a Wednesday and a Thursday and that covers both of the two weeks. You can also see I've got wide space in here for other potential meetings that might come up, so there are air gaps effectively in the calendar if I want to slot extra meetings in that might come up through the course of the project itself. You can see that I've not tried to make too many things back to back, there are a couple of instances, but I've also put lunch breaks in there because I'm definitely going to need that. All these things can be changed on any given day as we run through the week and we'll talk through that in the next lesson. But you can see how I've managed to prioritize the key activities that I want to lead those domino effects activities like tracking which are occurring on a Monday, I'm dealing with the metrics on the project later on in the afternoon and then start doing planning sessions, and I've split this up. You can see that I'm communicating one of two there, which occurs on a Monday afternoon, and there will be a separate session where we're going to do that a little bit later on. Risks is split down into the various different sections, you can see on the Friday afternoons here, that I've got all of my reporting elements, all marked out, so I'm updating data for the report. I'm constructing the report, so that's half an hour for each spread through there. Ultimately, we've managed to create a picture here of how I'm going to be spending my time in any two-week period of time, I'm comfortable that there's now gaps that I could use if something comes up, I've got those deep work blocks although they look scary on the calendar in that they filled out some space. They are actually for me to work on my specific tasks, and what I might do when I'm doing my weekly reviews is look at which specific tasks are going to be done in that time and actually put calendar entries in accordingly. We've made great strides here in getting organized and planning our timeout in order to be as effective as possible in our job, from looking at things I now feel optimistic about how I'm going to be managing my work and time. I feel like I'm focusing on the right things at the right time and I'm ready to get going. Of course, I'll remain analytical here to changes that might be needed and we'll cover some of that in the next lesson. But before we do, I want you to now have a look at your own project and your own schedule, I want you to take the time to think about what activities would actually benefit if you schedule them in, would it help me get them done? Would it help me keeping me more focused? Take a look now before we move into the final lesson of this class. 6. Remaining Agile: Now that you've implemented a system that will keep you focused, efficient, and productive, it certainly doesn't mean that it's always the right thing to do. Project managers sometimes get the rap for being too organized and too disciplined and too structured. There's a saying about the best-laid plans. It's important, therefore, when we look at the calendar on a regular basis and look at feedback, that we're agile and flexible in our approach when needed. Let's use an example here. Let's imagine I've had some feedback and cheers that I'm spending too much time in status meetings. In parallel maybe I'm not spending enough time communicating with stakeholders, being clear in terms of what we're working to and why. This type of information of feedback is really important. But the key here is that I'm willing to change and adapt my approach based on what's needed at that point in time. Here are some tips to be aware of, the ones who were operating within our system. Firstly, what was right when we created this system, isn't always what's right today. What I'll do periodically, depending on the length of the project, is go through this very same exercise of listing my work and my efforts needed, putting them in priority order, and then updating my calendar. On top of this, I also undertake a weekly review. As you can see here, this is on a Friday afternoon, and it's at four o'clock, and it's where I will ask myself a series of questions. I'll say, how did last week go? What worked? What didn't? What does next week look like? What needs changing? What needs adding? If I do this every week, then what it enables me to do, is make adjustments to fine-tune my schedule, and focus on an ongoing basis. It's really simple to schedule this and a great way of clearing up the end of the week, and finishing with a plan for next week moving forward. This doesn't need to be a heavy exercise but ensures that I'm always looking at what's been set up, and I'm always willing to adjust based on what's needed in front of me. Another thing that might be quite important here, is to keep a log of where your time goes. If you find yourself always missing meetings, or meetings are overrunning, or there's lots of other things that come onto your schedule that you didn't actually have planned, by keeping a log of those activities as part of your weekly review, you may be able to set them up as part of your prioritization moving forward, and then put them in your calendar so that you're not reacting to them, but you're managing them as they appear. Secondly, the other thing that's important to acknowledge, is that projects often have phases where the activities and focus areas might be on different things, where you prioritize your time and your whole calendar could shift from one phase to the next. Don't just blindly keep repeating your system, be prepared to skip activities if it makes sense to do so. Thirdly, we should be assessing them daily, if your focus areas, activities, and schedule makes sense. Is it still important today that I focus on these things? Be prepared to scrap it all. A big problem could have been identified which has scuppered the launch plans. I need to get the team together, I need to do some brainstorming and navigate a way out of this. This will be a priority. Even if it's a two-minute look at your schedule at the beginning of the day, do so. This is all about building good habits and discipline for remaining flexible and agile in what you do. Our goal is always to avoid having to be just reacting to information and flying by the seat of our pants. The project shouldn't be happening to you, your job is to manage and coordinate. You're paid to stay on top of things. These tactics like scheduling, are key to enable them, make them a habit. Fourthly, just because our risk analysis meeting gear is down as 30 minutes, this doesn't always mean that that's fixed. As well as the obvious efficient means earlier if complete, it's also important to be prepared to extend this meeting in the moment if the outcomes haven't been met and maybe it's our priority to do so. If the benefit of meeting the outcome outweighs the cost of extending it, then make it happen. Explain why we carry on to those present and keep the focus on what we're trying to achieve. Fifth, always ask for feedback. You may have what you think is the world's most efficiently run-focused project, but others may see it differently. Be vulnerable and honest with people. Ask for feedback, and show willingness to change what you do, and you'll be even more successful. Again, as part of stakeholder management and engagement, ensure that you're asking the question of whether they're getting what they want from the project on an ongoing basis. What would they like to see more of or less of? Finally, always be looking to make each area of your focus more efficient. Just because you set the meeting to 45 minutes or the calendar entry for 90 minutes to your weekly reporting, then it doesn't mean it has to be that way all the time. You should always be aiming to save yourself time in your schedule. During your weekly reviews and periodic assessments, then look at whether you can strain that figure even more. What would this look like if you only had half the time? You can obviously go to extremes and cut back to a 1/10, or something like that. But starting with half the time is really useful for us. Let's look at the reporting updates. In here, I've got 60 minutes every weekend. What would have to be true for me to get through that in 30 minutes? I need to get analytical here. Which sections in my report change? Which are fixed? Can I change the template? Where does the info come from? Can I chip away updating through the course of the week? How much information comes for free? Can I make it a competition for myself to do it in half the time? As a project manager, you should always be looking to ways to level up to get better, to improve your skills. There's a handful of tactics that you can apply straight away to your own work. Even if you're not running a project now, these habits and tactics were applicable for all types of work. Set yourself some regular reminders to review whether your system are operating, your calendar, and any approaches that you might need changing. Before we wrap up this class, take a few minutes now to look at your own schedule for today, and for this week. Is there anything that you might need to change? Are there any regular activities that need to be adjusted that you want to constrain further, that you want to try and drive yourself to focus and deliver better? Take the time now to look at your own work, and I'll see you in the wrap-up. 7. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] We've been through a lot here, and remember that there are many facets to being a really good or even great project manager. But it's clear that you have to have discipline. You have to be organized, productive, and have structured in how you work. For sure, you'll still need to focus and cut out some other procrastination. But there's a mirror between the way your project runs and how you manage your own work and your own time. So think about that. If you can't manage your own schedule, your own tasks, then how do you expect to manage those in the entire project? So take the time to get it right, scheduling it, and make it a habit. I hope you've enjoyed this class and you're able to apply some of these tactics. Your project is always enjoyable to hear and people get on these concepts. So I encourage you certainly to share your thoughts. Many of your own lessons learned in the discussion boards. So thanks for watching the class, and I'll see you again. [MUSIC]