The One Minute Manager

I read The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. It’s a classic management book.

Some things I learned:

  • Be specific and compact in the goals you set for others.
  • Learn how to delegate correctly.
  • Take a step back, see if your behavior matches your goals.
  • Let people know up front that you are going to evaluate their work.
  • If you have to reprimand someone, finish with an encouragement.
  • If you have to reprimand someone, reprimand the behavior not the person.
  • If someone does something good, praise it, do it soon.

The book is a short story about a man who wants to learn about becoming a manager, you read about how he learns these lessons from a successful manager known as “The One Minute Manager” who does all sorts of things in one minute. It’s easy to look past the story and that’s the point of the way the book is written. The advice the book dispenses is really good. On the back it says …

… a powerful recipe for getting big results from people …

… and that’s true.

There are a lot of good one-liners and lists taking up a full page making the book even shorter than 112 pages, it really takes a very short time to read but it’s powerful stuff.

My score: 8.5/10

Project Management Inspiration on Twitter

I like Twitter you can follow me if you want, it’s a place where I micro-blog about just about anything that’s on my mind and I announce my new posts there as well.

There’s used to be a site called Twittgroups that parses all the tweets for group tokens, words that start with a hash (#) character. One of the groups I like was “Project Managers on Twitter” (#pmot) for instance. In the meantime this has all been integrated in Twitter in the search functionality. Did you know there used to be a time that Twitter didn’t have search at all, it was sometime between 2006 and 2010 I guess. This is an old post you know, I sometimes just check and update the blog. I’m not changing any links though, except if they’re broken or turned into other sites.

Here are a few tweeters I follow, check ‘em out, they are a cool bunch :)

Project Management related (at times Agile, PMI or PMP):

Some of my personal PM friends (mostly Dutch):

Inspirational tweeters:

Don’t forget Twitter search, it’s great if you want to keep up-to-date about what people are tweeting about a specific subject, the service creates RSS feeds of a search so you don’t have to come back to the site. I heartily recommend it.

By the way, please comment should I’ve missed you in the lists!

The Key Method to Prioritizing Efficiently

Chances are high that you and your team have a lot of things to do at the moment and a long list of tasks is currently on your plates.
There’s a cool way to find out what’s the smartest thing to do first by putting each task in one of 4 group in terms of saving time.

Have a look at my sketch drawing in the picture …
setting priorities

  1. important things that are urgent
  2. important things that are less urgent, but not less important
  3. not so very important things that are urgent
  4. unimportant things that aren’t urgent

You can put everything you have to do in one of those 4 groups. Groups 1 and 4 are the obvious ones, do stuff in 1 now, never do anything that gets into 4, easy. But the things in groups 2 and 3 could trick you in wasting your time if you don’t pay attention.

This isn’t rocket science, you already know this but I think it’s a good way to visualize the choices you have to make.

It takes discipline and courage at times to focus on the tasks you put in group 2, but often they are the ones that help you grow out of hard situations. Stuff that goes into group 2 for a PM for instance could be making a detailed planning or a strong risk log, or something strategical like writing out a new process and presenting it to your own project office or to your executives.

Have a good look at what your project teams are doing, it’s the job of a PM to indicate the urgency and the importance of different things for them but also to help them make the correct assessment and maybe the drawing can help you with that when things get fuzzy (like they do).

I got a lot of things like this explained to me in far greater detail by Inge De Bruyn from De Groeipraktijk and use the advice quite a lot, they do training workshops and seminars on all kind of soft skills. This post isn’t endorse by them but I’d recommend them to you if you’d ask me.

How to Deal With Angry People

One of the things you just come by when you work with people are angry people. It’s normal, people get mad about things at times.

There’s no sense starting an argument against a

car driving away from a steaming hot exploding volcanic dust cloud wall of emotions.

Arguing just doesn’t work at that moment. It’s easy at times to go into offensive mode yourself before the storm goes down, just don’t. If someone is very very mad about something they almost certainly didn’t chose to feel like that.

Here are a few thing to remember that will help you to stay calm yourself:

  • Everybody has the right to their emotions, even the angry person in front of you.
  • Get yourself some time and give the angry person time, wait until the anger fades, only then a real discussion is possible.
  • The more compassionate you are toward an angry person the higher the chances are on a positive outcome for you if there’s a discussion.
  • It is always possible to be compassionate without yielding to an argument by confirming that it is an argument.
  • Venting anger doesn’t relieve it.

OK, I just got angry myself, now what?

  • Apologize for the angry moment, explain how you felt.
  • Realize it’s a matter of emotional discipline, learn from it.
  • It’s a natural thing, don’t be too ashamed.

Same advice goes for people who go into drama mode or start to cry. Having a strong emotion is not a choice. Deal with it in the best way you can.