I had a really productive day yesterday in my role as a project manager and senior systems engineer for my two teams.
And yet, I only moved one item forward between both team kanban boards.
How Can That Be?
There are other days where I knock out 4-5 items I had planned. Schedule updates, documentation, analysis on change requests, etc. But they don’t compare to how product I felt yesterday. Why?
Because yesterday, I eliminated several obstacles for my project team members.
While I strive to continuously improve in my personal productivity, my primary goal as a project manager is not that ‘local optimum’ of just my own tasks.
My primary goal is the productivity of my teams. Period.
So when I do a particularly good job of removing obstacles from their path, so they can go crush it, I feel especially productive.
We have a ‘blocked’ status in our kanban process. It helps the team and I to identify cards which are blocked in some way. Sometimes it’s an unanswered question that we need a decision on to move forward. Sometimes it’s waiting on another outside party to finish before we can continue on a task or user story.
The most important parts of my role on our teams are:
- Provide direction and course corrections as necessary to the teams
- Empower my teams to utilize their abilities within the constraints of our high-level primary objectives
- Remove obstacles from my teams’ paths
Number of Face-to-Face Conversations
In general, my truly productive days also correspond with:
- A minimum of time interrupting my team members, outside of our daily tag-ups, questions from them, and coming back to them with the answers they need
- A maximum number of face-to-face conversations with people outside my teams, getting decisions made and documented and in general pushing for the things my teams need to succeed
So what do you think? Is my definition of a truly productive day in line with your own experience or expectation for a project management role?
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