Serial Monogamy Project Management

I ran into Dan North at the Agile conference today, and explained a little about the project portfolio book. I'm writing it because I have a number of clients who are having trouble breaking the multitasking habit (working on more than one project at one time.)

Dan said, “Oh, you want them to commit to serial monogamy project management!” I cracked up.

He said exactly the right thing. No one has to be married to a project forever–just long enough to finish an iteration. (That's why serial lifecycle projects are so hard. You have to stay married to the darn project forever.) But once you finish an iteration, you're free to marry another project.

Thanks, Dan!

2 Replies to “Serial Monogamy Project Management”

  1. Now I feel dumb. I’d always felt diffident that I don’t like and largely refuse to commit to a gamut of projects. I like to work on one thing at a time until it’s done and then move on to the next.

  2. Years ago, a manager two levels above me asked, “Do you like to work on one big project full time or lots of little projects all at the same time?”

    I didn’t have an answer for him at the time. To be candid, his question sounded stupid to me. I later learned that he had another agenda. He wanted me to solve some of his problems by committing to something that I didn’t want to do.

    My answer today to that question is, “I don’t see life as a choice between single-tasking and multi-tasking. Life and work are too complex for such a simple question and answer.

    I like the idea of committing to one project at a time. Try to work one thing at a time and leave your options open.

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