The ‘iOS Depth Effect’ for Project Managers

For those of you who have an iPhone 7+, you are probably familiar with the new feature to take portrait pictures on your phone. The cool thing is that with this option you now can take those nice images which shows your subject(s) crystal sharp, but with a blurry background. When the right conditions are met on the phone (not too close, enough light etc.), it will show ‘Depth Effect’ and you can take your amazing image. This is a blog about change and we’re typically not talking about new features on phones… Let me get to the point. We as PMs should have a built-in Depth Effect feature as well. Too often I see PMs not focusing on the right things or focusing on too many things. It’s a fine balance. For some PMs it comes intuitive to zoom in on the right items. Others have to work harder to make sure their focus is always right.

What makes it so much harder is that PMs are bombarded with processes, procedures, guidelines and instructions. Of course, it’s good to have all of those. But if we are not mindful, all these well-intended tools will become an objective on itself. Certainly when stakeholders and management get involved, there will be more pressure to ‘stick to the process’ and dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s.

One of Baseline7’s guiding principles is  FOCUS. We remind and stimulate our change leaders to tailor the methodology, the supporting processes and let them focus on what is really required to deliver that project or program. There are certain things which are must-do’s but there are lot of other items which can be left out and/or postponed dependent on which phase the project is in.

 

Tips:

  1. Put a recurring 15 minute meeting on your calendar each week with as subject ‘Re-focus’ and do not invite anybody. Spend the first 10 minutes to review your priorities and make sure they are right. Spend the last 5 minutes to send communication out in case any of your priorities have shifted and or to remind folks about the current priorities
  2. If your struggling with staying focused, put a picture on your desk, in your cubicle or wherever you spend most of your time during the day which shows something or somebody you love with a blurry background. It should be good reminder when you see that picture on daily basis to make sure your focus is right (and to make sure you keep that work-life balance in mind 🙂 )
  3. Ask those around you (team, stakeholders, sponsor etc.) on regular basis what their top concerns/risks are. Of course those typically don’t line up with yours, but at least gives you perspective to validate that you’re focused on the right things, or perhaps have to consider to re-focus.