One of my favorite books from a few years back is John Brockman’s ‘This will Make you Smarter’. I have cravenly blagged his title, but not his content. Instead, here are three less well-known concepts that will help you be a smarter Project Manager.
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When you allocate your resources you may not be able to find a perfect solution. But you reach ‘Pareto Efficiency’ when you can no longer improve the allocation in one place, without making it worse by an equal amount in another. A ‘Pareto Improvement’ is any change in resource allocation that makes at least one improvement without creating a detriment.
This is a strategy of not making a decision until uncertainties have been clarified. This way, you keep your options open rather than closing them down too soon.
A forcing function is any task, activity, or event that forces you to take a specific action and produce the desired result. The Japanese word Poka Yoke refers to forcing functions as a design principle, to stop users initiating an undesirable outcome. Simple examples are asymmetric designs for interlocking components like USB plugs, to stop them from being joined incorrectly.
Understanding these three concepts will certainly make you a smarter Project Manager.
Read: ‘This Will Make You Smarter’.
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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 ProjectManager.com 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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