Planning and comunication is the root of management stress

How long will it take?

Let’s start with scheduling. How long do you think it takes your average employee to handle email, chat to his/her colleagues, dip out for cigarettes, have lunch, wind up in the morning and wind down at night? 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours, 5 hours? Are you sure you want to know?

 I suggest you monitor this for your own purposes over a period of about a week.

Now have you allowed for the long drawn out meetings and the important ones called by you and have you allowed for timesheets and project meetings and the team meetings? And of course the stream of emails.

Are you sure you have not missed anything?

Be honest with yourself, how far out was your first stab at this in terms of percentages?

Privately, you should perhaps consider what your estimate might have been, had you not been primed for it by this blog.

Now ask yourself what effect this minor oversight might have had on a project involving ten people for nine months.

Are you feeling the stress already?

Are the stakeholders behind you?

OK, so we started at the easy end. Now let’s up the stakes a little.

Do you know who all your stakeholders are?

Are you confident that a new stakeholder won’t appear out of the woodwork and bring it all to a halt unexpectedly?

So you have a comprehensive list, are you absolutely certain that every one of them knows exactly what you are planning to do and what the impact will be for them.

Ok so you circulated an email. Can you be absolutely certain that they read it?

Be honest, you know they didn’t, now ask yourself this; do any of these people have the power to stop you, officially or not, if they decide that they don’t like what you are delivering?

We both know the answer to this and we both know that even if you had extracted signatures on paper documents it would not really make much difference. By now you probably don’t want to go to work tomorrow and frankly I don’t blame you.

Are your team with you on this?

So we have covered some very important ground, but there’s still some way to go. It may have crossed your mind that if you planned this project on a poor basis and you tasked ambitious, hardworking people with targets, which we now know are impossible, they are probably already struggling and keeping it from you.

Ask yourself this; what will have to happen before a team member lets me know that there is a problem? Will you still be in a position to resolve the issue at that point?

Ask yourself this; how much easier would it be if you had scouts out there watching out for potential problems and warning you

in advance of the risks so you could be prepared?

Are you sure everyone is expecting the same outcome form this?

Finally let me throw the big one at you. How will you know you are finished?

What will success look like?
Will your stakeholders know whether you have succeeded or not? 


Will you get a pat on the back if you do a good job?

Be honest with yourself here. Try to envisage the scenario where you are toasted by top management for a great job completed and you have a warm feeling inside. Now step back from this to visualise the things management saw that made them feel like this about your work.

Are you still with me and are you still feeling confident about the outcome?

If you don’t know what success looks like there’s not much hope for stakeholders is there?

If nobody knows what success will look like, you are in a lose/lose situation, should you not be considering a new employer or maybe a new career?
What about all the loyal people who put up with you through all of this and received not a word of recognition, how will you motivate them next time?  




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