Longing for time to reflect

by Christina Villefrance Moeller, TalesOfLeading

As she hung up, she realized that she had had just delivered the same 3 minute long voicemail for the second time within 10 minutes. There was absolutely no time for embarrassment. Some employees had turned in sick the morning for starting up a new service concept at a large customer. There was no spare resources and compromising service on day one was just not an option. She jumped into a van and drove through a distribution route together with the Key Account Manager.

Hand over the baton

Later that day she met with the team manager who had received the two massages. They joke and laugh about the incident. The team manager had solved the resource problem in the meantime and was ready to take over. As project manager, she had  been working intensively to prepare the implementation of this service concept. It was a prestigious project where the contract was signed in capitol headquarters boardroom surrounded by past decades chairman portraits and celebrated at a Michelin star restaurant. Success would finally prove the opportunities in a new business model for the old organization struggling to survive the decay of present market.

  • How is your cross-functional team work?

Restitution is needed after a sprint

Admitted, I was the project manager lowing the sprint together with fantastic colleagues. The downside was periods where I was close to a burn-out. Fortunately, my husband has always insisted on long vacations traveling most of Europe with our two sons. Being away from mail and phone for at least three weeks was a solace. During the last few days of a long vacation new ideas tended to pop out of the blue. Then I was ready to go back and rushed myself into the next project. I loved the kick you get from a sprint, eventually, I was caught up by an emerging yearning for more stable cycles of work, development and reflection.

  • Do you have (and need) time for restitution?

Repetitive in long cycle times

For some years now, I have tried to categorize my activities in projects to generate some kind of stability. That is not easy as the activities change and the expected outcome differ. However, reserving short daily timeslots for predictable administrative tasks like filing travel expenses and going through e-mails removes the boring kind of tasks otherwise filling up my bad conscience. Understanding the character and expected process time for my tasks is an ongoing process. I try to break down tasks to three hour chunks which usually is possible for known tasks I have done several times before. Often I have more than one project or sub-project going on at the time. Then I distribute three hour time chunks over the week making sure I touch base on each sub-project at least once a week. This work in periods where I have time at the office. In periods with a lot of travel time, tasks needing reflection tends to pile up. Limiting time out of office is some times possible but it’s tempting let it slip if there’s no deadlines for deliveries. Deliveries gives me cadence and visualize the trade-off for time away from my desk. My system is not perfect but it’s more stable than it was 10 years ago when I repeated the long voicemail.

  • How is your personal planning?

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