Scan the Horizon
By Peter McBride
When I was learning to drive, I was taught to “scan the horizon” all the time. Watch about 1-2 kilometers ahead, then check the car right in front, then check the gauges, then back out to the 1-2 kilometer horizon. You won’t run out of gas (well, you won’t be surprised if you do!), you are less likely to hit the car in front – and you will be able to slow with lots of time if something way up ahead is going wrong.
Project Managers should develop this habit. Scan your project’s horizon, then what’s coming next month, then next week, and then deal with what’s happening right now. Then – BACK to the far horizon, etc. in a non-stop scan. Try to live about 3/4 of our PM life in the future, preparing to deal with what is coming up tomorrow, next week, next month, and about 1/4 of our time checking on the today stuff. Trust your team to do their work (checking periodically, of course) and manage the future so they can keep doing their work well.
You will be home in time for dinner more often. You will be surprised less often. You might even have more fun.
Peter McBride, PMP is a project manager in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You can read more from Peter on his blog.