The Power of Simplicity
As a project manager, you have to hold a million details in your head, tailor your approach to every new project and manage complex relationships between teams. Especially if you’re managing many projects at once, your job may seem to encourage complexity. Sometimes we will also make things more complex in order to stay challenged, but it can be equally challenging to keep things simple. Here are some tips on how to harness the power of simplicity.
- Simplify Tasks: When planning your next project, try to keep your tasks simple and include the minimum number of steps. If there’s two ways to complete a task, one with five steps and one with three, always go with the approach that uses the least steps. Simplified tasks won’t seem as hard to your teams, and they will make your work easier too.
- Focus on the Finish Line: Instead of getting bogged down with details or branching out your project plan, stay focused on the end goal of the project. Look at all your tasks and eliminate tasks that don’t immediately contribute to the goal. By focusing on the finish line, you can streamline your project plan and become more efficient.
- Avoid Bias and Assumptions: Of course you can’t know everything when you begin a project, so you need to make some assumptions. However, you have to be careful not to look at those assumptions as facts. If you have an assumption or bias about how you think a project should go, you can send things down the wrong path. Keep your mind open and avoid bias in your decision-making processes.
- Utilize Experience: Another way to simplify your project management process is to let your past experiences inform your current project. Learn from your mistakes so that you can do things better on your next project. Pay attention when things go wrong, and turn these setbacks into lessons. When planning, take a few moments to think about past projects and what you have learned and apply the knowledge.
Keeping it simple isn’t just good advice for any one particular project, but you can also use this advice to advance your career as a project manager. When you approach tasks, projects and even your career with the idea of simplicity and efficiency, you can get a lot more done. Using your experience to keep things simple is especially important when considering your career path. So that you can bring more experience to bear, it is important to gain as much experience as you can in different types of project environments throughout your career.
Your project methodology may become more subtle, complex, and nuanced as you advance through your career. However, your thinking about the subject, your opinion, and your intuition should become more clear and simple with each passing day. If they are not, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate how to deconstruct some of that complexity and over-engineering.