Seriously, I know someone whose first thought when it comes to fixing electrical devices is to “just let it rest.” What if Emmett, the repairman on Andy Griffith’s Mayberry show, fixed all his customers’ appliances that way? I think his secret would be out and he’d be out of business. We can all just let the radio or toaster go for a while before we use them again. Old Emmett would be gone fast. It would be so simple if our computer could just rest. Windows machines would be worth having again!
Let’s be serious. While letting things rest can be beneficial from time to time, it’s not a good solution or plan of action for large or urgent problems. It might cool down an overheated motor or let your brain and nerves relax so you can think calmly, go away and come up with a plan of action.
It can be applied to the PM world
Let’s now look at this concept from a project manager perspective. How does “let it rest” work in project management? This one is a good one. It will not work if you need to act immediately. These are the show-stoppers that require a crucial decision to be made or immediate action to take – right now or yesterday – because the customer is breathing down you neck and the project’s life is in danger. You might have heard threats to call your CEO or may be talking to your CEO. This is not the best time to try the “let it rest” concept.
There are times when it might be the best thing for you. These are some examples:
Two of the lead team members disagree on the best course of action. The let it rest idea may be a good option if you have two experienced and opinionated lead resources who are at odds over the best course of action for a particular issue. It doesn’t necessarily have to be solved immediately. Allowing it to rest for a day may help you to make better decisions and calm your mind.
A change order you propose to your project customer is frustrating. Customers are naturally opposed to change orders. Customers are almost always opposed to change orders. This means they will pay more for the project. They will likely push back unless they specifically request it. Let it rest for a few days. Then let the customer sponsor go and think about it. They will likely see things differently if you have provided the right justification and priced it appropriately.
You feel overwhelmed by 6 projects and request that one be offloaded to another PM. Your PMO Director tells you that this won’t work because everyone’s overloaded. You just need to’suck up’ and work through it. You are confident that if you allow it to rest for a few days and then revisit the topic with him, he will see the light and recognize you as the valuable resource you are and grant you your request. WRONG! Who are we kidding? Everyone is busy so you won’t get any special treatment. He will either say no again, or you’ll be smart enough to not ask for it in the first place. You don’t want your weak link to be seen.
This last idea was probably a failure, but you get my point. There will be situations on our projects that will require us to put off the discussion for a while. This will allow others to think about the situation and make the final result more favorable. Sometimes, you can just let it rest for a while.
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