Project LeadershipProject Management

What’s Wrong with the Productivity Race?

Everyone is happy getting off work with the productive feeling of having everything completed. However, do you ever notice what you have sacrificed on the way for such stellar work speed? It might be quality lunch time with your colleagues in exchange for some quick write-up for your project, which can be a more serious trade than you suspect. In a post at her blog, project leadership coach Susanne Madsen warns what can go wrong in chasing too much productivity.

Don’t Be a Work Robot

For one thing, fixating on speed often compromises work quality. But even if you work at a pace that maintains quality, there are project dangers that come with gluing your face to the screen for too long. It has to do with the nature of relationships on the project.

Projects succeed because their participants understand each other’s goals and motivation. Such understanding is best developed through face-to-face conversations–at lunch, in the hallway, wherever. Relegating everything to emails or even instant messages for the sake of time will only capture part of the story and degrade the human aspect of the project, which is often the most important part. Only if there is a true time crunch should you be banishing people to talk to you exclusively through a computer. The rest of the time, you should consider coworker interaction to be another fundamental aspect of your job to work into your schedule daily.

Madsen talks about the cons of focusing on short-term gain and sacrificing other long-term aspects:

When we get caught up in the productivity race, we are addicted to a short-term productivity gain. Unfortunately we are often unconscious about the medium and long-term side effects. We jeopardize relationships, make assumptions and poorly thought through decisions because we move too quickly. It can be devastating to treat a project simply as a set of tasks that need to be completed as quickly as possible. Too many projects fail because we’ve overlooked the human element. If our projects are to add value, we need to deeply engage with everyone, from team member and stakeholder to end-user.

Don’t try to win any race if it makes you lose at something more important. Others may stay behind you when you’re running fast, but they might be standing on sturdier ground too. You can view the original post here:

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