Mastering the Project Manager Mindset: Making Better Decisions

The decisions we make every single day on our projects and tasks will hugely affect the eventual outcome of them. This means that if you can make better decisions then you should expect to run more successful and better projects. It appears really simple, and the most of the best tips I have come across are pretty honest once you think about them. Let’s see:

Give yourself more time: Making a decision under a lot of time pressure is one of the unfailing ways of getting it wrong. I think it is safe to say that most of us think better when we have a few minutes of peace and quiet to consider the facts. There are very few situations you will come across in your project management career where you will need to make a snap decision without being able to think it over. You should consequently avoid rushing into your decisions and instead take your time to get them right instead of simply getting them out of the way quickly.

Follow the facts: Another common mistake made by under pressure project managers is to make their decisions without being apprised of all of the facts. If you do this then the only way you can expect to get the right conclusion is through absolute luck. Probably the most important step in your decision making process is that of doing your fact finding and working out what it is all about. This is a part of the process which it is easy to rush past but if you want to get it right then you will want to spend enough time on this stage before you even start to consider what your options are for the final decision. You might even find that once you have all of the facts the decision becomes a lot easier than you thought it was going to be.

Think of the outcomes: One of the other points which it is easy to disregard is that of the consequences of your decision. For example, will it lead to you needing more budget or more team members or will it result in a change to the project plan? There are often a number of different follow-on effects to consider before you go ahead and act on your decision.

Seek other evaluations: The last point mentioned looking for other opinions, and this is something worth bearing in mind in other circumstances as well. If you go and get the opinion of someone who is a bit more far away from the piece of work then you might be surprised by the different perspective they can offer you. If you are very lucky you might find that you work close to someone who is an excellent sounding board and who can give you the advice you need at the right times.

Always be flexible: Not every decision you need to make will demand the same deliberation process, so you need to be sure to adopt a flexible strategy which allows you to adapt your ideas to the situation. The project management world is one which requires you to be flexible anyway so you should soon get into the habit of being flexible. You should approach each decision in the way which best suits it. Being flexible is all about knowing that you have the skills and experience to consider the situation and choose the right way ahead even if it is completely different from the way you have done things in the past.

And, as a last advice, make sure to read Michael Wade, Nicholas Bates and Kurt Harden every single morning. They have the power of instant wisdom and you can learn a lot with these guys.


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