Recently, I have obtained The Lazy Project Manager by Peter Taylor. Other than Timothy Ferris’ The Four Hour Workweek, this book is about focusing properly and therefore a better partitioning of your workload while still managing a successful project, instead of just more or less blindly delegate work to others.
Table of contents
- The science behind lazyness
- The intelligence of lazyness
- A final definition
- It’s a jungle (book) out there!
- Can I cheat?
- Thick and one end
- Much, much thinner in the middle
- Then thick again at the far end
- Quick tips to productive lazy heaven
- Even quicker tips for the really lazy
- The ultimate question
- The ultimate answer
- One final word of caution
- Looking forward to hearing from you
- About the author
This book is about remaining focused on what you need to focus on as project manager. It also is about working hard, but on the right moments and spend time only to those items that you – as project manager – need to spend time on. The theory is that a project needs your full attention at the initiation phase and the closing phase. During the actual project, it needs full attention as well, but not specifically yours. There are other team members better fit for that who will need to pay attention to specific matters.
This does not mean you can sit back and totally relax, you still need to ‘be around’ when required. It means that you can apply the “Pareto principle” or the “80/20 rule” to your work, meaning (in this case) you only need 20% of your time and effort to gain 80% of your output. It is all about efficiency and effectivity; do not spend time on matters if not necessary: delegate them to the team members most fit to deal with it.
Every part of being a good project manager is globally mentioned and several real life examples endorse the theoretical part. The book is full of relatively simple – and therefore easy to understand and no less true – explanatory grids, from effective leaders to a ‘creep’o’meter’ to explain visually what the author writes. The hard skills are left out: you will not read much about how to produce a report, for example. What is mentioned, is communication; what is communication and what is it not?
Reporting is not communicating.
Header from The lazy project manager
The social part, the team part, is not forgotten in this book; how would you like your team (and therefore you) to be in order to create a fully functional project team and get the job done? How (and why) should you make it a team effort, instead of your effort alone?
It is not about project management methods, so I figure the tips can be applied to both large and small projects, and are very likely useful not only to project managers, but also to managers in a different field (e.g. programmes).
The book is written to be very easy and fun to read, not only for project managers, but also for those who are involved in project management in general or think about a career in this line of work. The tips and tricks are simple and easy to execute, still it is never over-simplified, making it a nonsense book. Adding personal experiences make it recognizable, likely all of the readers have had one or two similar experiences, even though spread out over several projects.
There is also the follow up The Lazy Project Manager and the Project from Hell. The contents are much the same, although summarized per item, and it provides a nice insight in projects gone wrong and how to deal with them – a case study is provided and a workshop can be extracted from it.
Buy it or not?
|Yes, because: easy to read, insightful, practical tips and trics.||No, because: no discussion of project management methods, inward centered.|
|My rating (out of 5 stars):||4|
While Steve Ballmer (near-former CEO of Microsoft) was making fun at because of his notorious exclamation “Developers, Developers, Developers!”, there are three items in this book which are similarly repeated: Filter, Delegate, Prioritize (actually Prioritise, for the use of UK English instead of US English). Since I am no manager and I do not know about management methods, I do not know why emphasizing some words in threefold is used, but I certainly see a pattern here.
About the book
The Lazy Project Manager: ISBN10: 1907518770, ISBN13: 9781907518775. Website: The lazy project manager.