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27 de enero de 2013

"Sharpen the Saw" managing Projects

The seventh habit of highly effective people, according to Covey is “sharpen the saw”. Effective people devote time not only to “cutting the tree” (production: getting the golden eggs) but also to “sharpening the saw” (production capacity: feeding the goose). The principle of renovation, or continuous improvement, is important to be effective: we have to fight sedentary habits, the experience is more and more complex, public victories are more and more interdependent, and our scheme of values has to be constantly reinforced.

The time we devote to self-renewal belongs to the category of important but not urgent (quadrant II, the quadrant of effectiveness). There are many other tasks important but not urgent (big rocks) we need to solve week after week to get a feeling of fulfillment and personal effectiveness. 

Continuous improvement, in order to be complete, has to include the four intelligences of the complete person paradigm:

  • Body: Exercise, good nutrition, stress control.
  • Mind: Reading, visualizing, planning, writing.
  • Heart: Service to others, empathy, synergy.
  • Spirit: Value clarification, commitment, study, meditation.

The 7th Habit of Effective Project Managers: Perform Better the Next Project

Effective Project Managers should have “their 4 intelligences well sharpened” as effective people. Regarding their job, they need to know that in this profession you never stop learning, and you learn by practice.

This is a continuous learning process, each project a new challenge, and the true lessons the mistakes made

After managing a few projects, you realize that on project N you are more prepared than in project N-1. Not a bit more prepared, but much more prepared.

If the project has been a challenging one (and we have lived it as complete persons) maybe the 6 months of duration are worth 2 years of professional development. You cannot compare two project managers on the basis of years of experience (Project Manager’s performance appraisals are still a hard topic for most HR Departments).

Since our first projects we are aware of we don’t know everything. We know we need to ask to other Project Managers, to research on tools, to network with colleagues, to attend PMI® meetings, etc.

Effective Project Managers are used to reexamining constantly:
  1. what went wrong in the project
  2. what he could improve by himself
  3. how can he make his professional network grow

Click here to read the Spanish version of this article. 
Click the label English to see the other articles written in English.