The big picture - Wellington city from the botanic gardens
Project management

Focus on the big picture – why project managers shouldn’t sweat the small stuff

Psoda blog author avatar
2 May 2017

I’m the first to admit that when I started out in project management I was absolutely terrible at it. I spent so much time worrying about the tiny details, I forgot to look at the big picture. Inevitably, my project slipped further and further behind.
New project managers often struggle to focus on the big picture of their projects.
I wonder if it’s because, like me, it wasn’t covered in their training.
So, if you do find yourself sweating the small stuff, what should you do to change things? Here are four ways you can focus on the big picture:

Trust your team

There’s nothing worse than having someone looking over your shoulder when you’re trying to get on with your job. Our job as project managers is to empower and trust our teams to get on with the job at hand. That means we need to trust that they will tell us if there is a problem.

Remember your project’s end goal

A quick way to pull yourself out of the weeds of a project is to remember its end goal. That does two things:  it refocuses your thinking and gives you something tangible to measure progress against. For instance, you could find you’re two-thirds of the way towards having your system go live.

Look at the project’s critical path

Similarly, try to stay focused on the critical path of your project. This will pull you away from work which may stop you from reaching your project’s goal.

Remember your role

If all else fails, remember you’re a project manager – not a subject matter expert or a work package leader. That means you need to elevate your thinking from the day to day and focus more on the week to week or month to month.
If you’re finding that you need help in pulling yourself out of the weeds Psoda’s PPM tools can help you focus on the big picture. With Psoda you can set project goals and the benefits it aims to achieve. You can then manage tasks and priorities, and keep track of milestones and progress – all within the same dashboard.  Sign up here for your 30 day free trial.

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *