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The More of Less in Projects

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I’ve been enjoying the book The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker. Mr. Becker says that most of us own too much stuff. And we tire of cleaning and taking care of our possessions. The accumulation of stuff can rob us of life.

The author has caused me to think about the clutter in my projects. Do I really need all the stuff? Are all the meetings necessary? How can I simplify my projects?

Experiment with Your Projects

I believe the answer is to experiment. We do this in life all the time. Here are some examples:

  • We purchase a song of an artist.
  • We try a new restaurant.
  • We test drive a car.
  • We hike a new trail.
  • We decide to eat out once a week rather than three times per week.
  • We stop drinking coffee for two weeks.
  • We decide to have a technology-free day one day per week.
  • We get rid of cable (something I did years ago and I’ve never missed it).
  • We stop spending time with negative people who drain us of our energy.

In the same way, we can experiment with our projects. We can try new things, continue some current activities, and stop some things.

What can we stop doing, and perhaps get better results? Think it over. Give it a try. Live without something for a while and then determine whether it’s necessary to you.

Reduce Your Project Management Plan

When you create your project management plans, do you need all the subsidiary plans (e.g., quality management plan, procurement management plan, human resource management plan)? How can you reduce the amount of documentation and streamline your planning?

Reduce Your Project Processes

Processes including inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs are essential to projects. However, what can you eliminate or reduce? Consider the following questions:

  • Are you performing quantitative risk analysis on all of your projects?
  • Are you creating network diagrams for small projects?
  • Are you performing project processes without asking for feedback from the stakeholders on the value?
  • Are you using an advanced project management tool that requires lots of time when you could get by with a simple task management tool such as Trello?
  • Are you requiring your team members to report their project hours? Is this necessary? Maybe. Maybe not.

Reduce Your Project Meetings

When thinking about project meetings, ask yourself:

  • Is there a way to accomplish things without an hour-long meeting? Perhaps an email or a quick face-to-face stand up meeting.
  • Are you having status meetings to only discuss the status of your projects?
  • Are you clear about the purpose of the meetings?
  • Does your agenda align and support the purpose?
  • Is there a way to reduce the length of your meetings?

Reduce Your Meeting Minutes

When creating meeting minutes, are you including everything that everyone says? Try reducing the narrative. Focus on the essentials: Risks, Action Items, Issues, and Decisions. Here’s a meeting minutes template. You can find other free templates here.

Question: What else should project managers eliminate or reduce?

 

For more brilliant insights, check out Harry’s blog: The Project Risk Coach

About Harry Hall

Profile photo of Harry Hall
Harry Hall is a coach, speaker, teacher, and blogger in Macon, Georgia. He’s led projects and implemented PMOs for General Electric, IKON Office Solutions, and the Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company. Harry received his B.S. and Masters from the University of Georgia. He has certifications as a project management professional (PMP), risk management professional (PMI-RMP), and has an associate in risk management (ARM-E). When Harry is not conducting project management workshops and helping project managers prepare for their PMP and PMI-RMP exams, he enjoys gardening, golf, guitar, and teaching others how to speak Southern. You can get Harry’s project management tips, tools, and techniques at The Project Risk Coach by clicking the little "house" button directly below.

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