Chop Wood, Carry Water: Getting Work Done

Now that the day’s over with, I can get some work done!
– Some unknown person

The moment I heard those words come out of my mouth I realized how upside down that was.

The “work” that I was focused on ‘getting done’ was the paperwork side of my job.

Don’t Mind the Woman Behind the Curtain

That “work” consists of tasks that seem to increase week by week as some other part of the organization realizes that project management tools, reporting and communication are valuable to understanding where our organization is with respect to its goals.

That “work” consists of

  • Status reports
  • Analysis of data
  • Documentation
  • Minutes
  • Schedule updates
  • Behind the Scenes Stuff that needs to get done to move the project along (process, forms, etc)

Keep Your Eye On the Ball

All of the behind the scenes (don’t mind the woman behind the curtain) work that a PM does to move the project forward is important, but what that work allows us to get done during the day is many times more critical:

  • Connecting with other folks on the team or extended support team members
  • Connecting teammembers to address problems
  • Getting answers from the right people
  • Defining scope
  • Eliminating make work
  • Pushing for decisions that impact your project
  • Meeting with stakeholders
  • Flagging risks
  • Making a decision on a program or project that needs to be made to move us closer to delivery

Working the levers and pulleys in the back is not more important than working with your team and stakeholders to deliver.  So this a gentle reminder to myself that my words are a reflection of what I value.

So next time: when the last meeting of the day ends…

It will be time to get the rest of my work done!

Leave a comment, send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.


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