The Silence of the Project

… or “What’s around the next bend?”

As project managers, there is a huge temptation to be busy, busy, busy.  There is so much to do, so many strands to co-ordinate and so many people to speak with.

Then, of course, there are the milestones to track, he activities to oversee, the work streams to review, the deliverables to assess, and the budget to reconcile.

One of the most valuable things a project manager can do is stop.

Yes, stop – and take some time to think.  On one project, I would periodically retire to “Meeting Room 4”.

Because the offices we were in only had three meeting rooms, Meeting Room 4 was a coffee shop.  MR4 was somewhere I could go with my notebook and pen and just sit and think about what we were missing.

The “Next Bend”

I would think about what is coming up, what is happening now, what is around the next bend and crucially, what no one else had the time to think about.

If you, as project manager, are not taking time to think ahead, think sideways and think randomly, then nobody else will.  Here is your chance to innovate and to scan the horizon for opportunities and threats.

And sometimes, you may just make a connection you would not otherwise have made, which can lead your project in a new direction, prevent a disaster, or just create some a chance for something special.

Why bring this up now?

Because I am starting to wind down for the holidays, and I am hoping to spend some time in MR4 in the next couple of weeks.  I feel I have been missing it lately.

A bit of silent contemplation of your project is not on your Job Description.  Most PMs don’t do it.  But here’s the thing: those that do, wouldn’t trade the time for anything.

The “so what?”

Make the time, take the time, leave the phone, and have a quiet cup of coffee in MR4.  I don’t know what you’ll think of; maybe nothing.  But if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

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