Hiding inside an effective project manager is a verb that is often not discussed… calendaring.
In my first year working with Gretchen of Hartke Designs, I noticed that she takes her schedule very seriously. As a vendor partner, managing and satisfying multiple clients and projects at a given time, her time must be shared effectively.
We were discussing a client deadline approaching in three months. She requested for us to open our calendars to secure time leading up to the deadline. We scheduled meetings with subject matter experts to gather necessary information. We sent emails delegating work with specific deadlines. We created appointments for her to show me her progress and get my input. We scheduled meetings with additional stakeholders to do similarly. This not only created our project plan but also informed people of dependencies and secured time to implement the plan.
On a different project, the client was not replying to our emails. Gretchen’s solution was simple… she requested a weekly conference call with the client. Instead of sending emails, we batched our questions in preparation for the meeting. During the one-hour meeting, we collected answers to the questions, we gathered feedback on our deliverables, and we made upcoming plans.
I had successfully managed numerous projects but what Gretchen demonstrated is the purposeful planning of other people’s time. Securing time on other people’s calendars allows us to get what we need when we need it.
This is also useful for personal relationships. The simple act of putting time on the calendar to meet or talk with friends, makes it happen. (It sounds so simple but it is easy to accidentally let time pass without it.)
Thank you Gretchen!