Well maybe not. You may come to find out that someone just rang your doorbell and there is no one at the door. You got played, they sent the email, and never spent another single moment worrying about what that email signaled to their unsuspecting project manager. These days emails are flying around like loose newspapers on a windy day. As a responsible PM, you race around to try and catch them in a continual effort to answer the door and to avoid the embarrassment of having them all over the neighborhood. Just like the neighbor who just got ding dong ditched, you work to identify, diagnose and analyze who rang the bell and why.
Does this sound familiar? I have seen it happen to some very experienced project managers and it is something that can be avoided by following these simple steps.
- Know your project schedule inside and out especially with a focus on the tasks that make up the critical path. The reason this is important is that if the issue does not impact the tasks along the critical path you will have more time to resolve it. In Microsoft Project this can be determined by looking at your Free and Total slack fields. Free slack is the amount of time a task can be delayed before its successor task is delayed. Total slack is the amount of time a task can be delayed before the project finish date is delayed.
- Engage your critical thinking skills and work to clarify the issue at hand clearly separating fact from opinions. For example, when you go to a doctor’s office they often utilize a critical thinking framework called SOAP. It is designed to separate out the subjective (opinions), from the objective (facts) and this feeds into the overall assessment and planning.
- S – Subjective
- O – Objective
- A – Assessment
- P - Plan
- Take it offline, do not use email. Those doorbells are making us all crazy. The conferencing feature on a phone is a very powerful asset for a business analyst or project manager. It is amazing what happens when all involved parties do not have the time delay of email as well as the potential to misinterpret intentions or tone.
It is clear, the doorbell is our email. When it rings next time, take the time to be prepared to answer it regardless of whether or not someone is at the door and use these simple steps so you do not become another victim of Ding Dong Ditch.
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