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One Minute Project Manager: Applying the Principles to Projects

The One Minute Manager (by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson) is a deserved best-seller. Its guidance is simple and valuable for any manager. So how does it translate for a Project Manager? Could you be a One Minute Project Manager?

One Minute Project Manager

One Minute Project Manager

What are the Principles of the One Minute Manager

The original One Minute Manager book (US, UK) is small, pithy, and written as a simple narrative. In it are the core of the authors’ philosophy of management. They describe it as the Three Secrets.

  1. One Minute Goals
    Setting out responsibilities and performance standards in 250 words or less, per goal.
  2. One Minute Praisings
    Catching people doing things right, telling them, and letting the good feeling sink in.
  3. One Minute Reprimands
    Telling people what they have done wrong, then reminding them that you value them and intend to support their learning.

How to Apply the Principle to the One Minute Project Manager

The One Minute Project Manager sets One Minute Project Goals

As project managers, we are familiar with Work Package descriptions. So what about creating simple one page, one-minute-to-read goals for each team member? If you want to do this, the need to focus means a level of clarity that your team members will appreciate.

The One Minute Project Manager delivers One Minute Praisings

I am a big advocate for Project managers wandering their projects and speaking with people. So what better opportunity could there be to spot something good and deliver genuine praise? Let’s face it, you have few levers of organizational motivation at your disposal, but we know that a sense of achievement, and feeling of recognition are both powerful motivators for most people. And you can deliver both, for free.

The One Minute Project Manager delivers One Minute Reprimands

Things go wrong on Projects a lot. And sometimes people do mess up. But they don’t need you to rub it in, if they care about their project. It will often be enough for them to know they messed up. If they don’t care about your project, then an extended rant about their failings won’t build the loyalty you want. So don’t make a big thing of it.Express your reprimand for the failure. Let it sink in. Then move on, to look at next steps.

Critical Appraisal of the One Minute Project Manager

There is plenty more to managing people than Blanchard and Johnson cover in The One Minute Manager. Indeed, they must clearly accept this. Because it was merely the first of a long series of books, that build on the model, using the same style. I particularly recommend The One Minute Manager builds High Performing Teams (US, UK).

But what appeals to me about the idea of a One Minute Project Manager is the combination of pace, and priorities. I think it works well on both fronts in a project environment.


About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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