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John P. Reiling, PMP: Don’t Let the Fear of Time Hold You back

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We Project Managers tend to be very practical people. Otherwise, we probably could never have become Project Managers!

Keep it up…but take note of this quote from the legendary motivational author and speaker Earl Nightingale:

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”– Earl Nightingale

When I earned my PMP certification back in 2004, I had just completed a set of projects – I was Project Manager and more – and wanted to get some formal project management training. The projects had been successful, but it was not necessarily smooth sailing! I wanted to learn how to at least attain “controlled sailing”, as I thought I could improve the experience, and possibly also the results.

One standout idea from my PMP studies was the Triple Constraint. On my recently completed projects, I often found it difficult to say no to the constant flow of client requests. Our team had a great “can do” attitude, and the clients appreciated that. However, they were also intolerant about sacrificing any aspect of quality, time, or cost…but I was not presenting that as a constraint to them, as I could have been doing.

What I learned was that this “can do” attitude can still operate in concert with the Triple Constraint. I learned that, with the stream of requests coming from stakeholders, I could practice good stakeholder management by telling the stakeholders that “Yes!” we could deliver what they requested, but that they would have to decide which aspect of the project they were willing to change: quality, time, or cost!

What’s my conclusion? It’s simply that it’s important to maintain that youthful “can do” attitude even as you become a more seasoned and grounded PM professional. Continue to ask yourself, “Why not?”, and don’t slip into the abyss where many ask why something “can not” be done!

At this time of the year – mid-January – you probably are still thinking about your goals for 2013. While you surely need to be mindful of constraints, my thought for you is that you keep this in mind: don’t let the constraints hold you back personally. Take a “can do” attitude to drive yourself to accomplish what you want.

John Reiling, PMP

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