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How To Be a Lazy Project Manager

Maybe it’s because the dog days of August fast approach and most people are either on vacation or wishing they were. But the Lazy Project Manager struck a vibe because who wants to work hard when it’s so hot outside?
Peter B. Taylor is the brains behind TheLazyProjectManager.com (http://www.thelazyprojectmanager.com/). He’s written a book entitled (naturally) The Lazy Project Manager and actively speaks throughout Europe, Asia, and Arab countries on the topic.


The first thing he wants to make clear is lazy does not mean stupid. “I really mean that we should all adopt a more focused approach to project management and to exercise our efforts where it really matters, rather than rushing around like busy, busy bees involving ourselves in unimportant, non-critical activities that others can better address, or indeed that do not need addressing at all in some cases,” he counsels.
The major reason Taylor is a proponent of being a lazy project manager? It’s the search for a work-life balance. “I am not, by nature, a lazy person but I do have many other things to do in life and therefore I have learnt a way in which to balance life, projects and work,” he says.
Taylor has a scientific theory behind being an effective lazy project manager. He cites the 80/20 rule espoused by management expert Joseph M. Juran who said that for many phenomena 80 percent of consequences stem from 20 percent of the causes. Taylor puts his lazy spin on the 80/20 rule. “I believe to appreciate that of the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter.  Those 20 percent produce 80 percent of your results. So, you should identify and focus on those things during your working day. Do this well and you will enjoy the world of ‘Productive Laziness’. ”
Another interesting supposition by Taylor borrows from a Monty Python video and dinosaurs. The video says brontosauruses are thin at one end, then thick in the middle and finally thin again. He says, “All projects are thick at one end, much, much thinner in the middle and then thick again at the far end. That is the theory that I have and which is mine, and what it is too.’”
“The point here being that, working on the productive lazy rule, a smart project manager should apply time and effort at the critical stages of a project, i.e. the start and the finish, and less time in the middle or the less critical stage,” Taylor says. (You weren’t expecting something as simple as a reference to extinction were you?)


Taylor builds on his thin-thick-thin analogy. “The ‘lazy’ project manager now oversees the project work with as light a touch as possible. The planning was done at the ‘thick’ front-end of the project, now it is all about execution and control,” he says, before continuing. “A number of aspects work well in the world of productive laziness – firstly ensuring that the project is conducted in a fun and enjoyable manner, and secondly being prepared to throw that newspaper down, leap off of the comfy chair and deal with problems as and when they occur but in a controlled and productive manner.”
By the way, there’s a quotation on Taylor’s home page that brilliantly sums up his philosophy and should want to make you lazy too. “Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something,” Taylor says. Let somebody else go crazy looking for a worm while you figure out a way to sleep in a little bit.

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