When PM’s complain of insufficient time, sometimes the problem is with distractions. PM’s get distracted a lot, and this reduces their productivity.
A project manager that I admired greatly was managing a very aggressive ERP implementation schedule. He understood that any time he was interrupted, it caused a break in his thinking and productivity. So he tried to minimize the time used up by distractions, which were mostly people coming into his office to discuss whatever they decided was important. When entering his office, before any greeting or inquiry about your fun weekend, instead he would say, “don’t sit down.” Now this may seem rude, but he wanted you to know that whatever it was you needed to discuss you shouldn’t get comfortable; you’d better say it quickly because his time was valuable and he hoarded it for really important work. This technique taught his project team to communicate succinctly and not to bother him with trivia. He made the deadline, by the way.
This may be an extreme example, but many project managers I coach have an “open door” policy, that is that anyone can stroll into their office and interrupt them at any time. While this sounds good from an HR perspective, it is extremely bad for productivity. You can save yourself a lot of time if you limit your accessibility to your team members, because interruptions will be fewer. If you are struggling with an aggressive schedule, close your door, you will be amazed at how much more work you can get accomplished. A closed door will also motivate your team members to try and solve their own problems without your advice.
OK, if this is too extreme, find a compromise with seven hours of “closed door” and one hour of “open door.” Any more time with open door and you are fooling yourself….