8 Project Management Lessons from Peter Drucker

A Personal Book Summary of "The Effective Executive"

8 lessons based on Peter Drucker's book The Effective Executive

When I was still in my undergraduate studies, we were "slammed" with many well-known personalities on all sorts of topics in management. However, among all the Mintzbergs, Taylors, and Welchs, I could always sympathize the most with Peter Drucker. I literally devoured his books and even bought the two-volume management tome second-hand so as not to overstretch my student budget.

The lessons are absolutely timeless and applicable to any discipline. So today I would like to share with you my 8 lessons on how you, as a project manager, can bring Peter Drucker's wealth of experience into your daily work.

1. The Pursuit of Effectiveness

Drucker emphasized the importance of being effective, not just efficient. While efficiency is about doing things right, effectiveness is about doing the right things. As a project manager, you should not just focus on streamlining processes, but making sure your team is moving in the right direction.

2. Time Management is the Key

Drucker believed in the power of time management. Project managers can increase productivity by reviewing their weekly time and setting aside specific blocks for focused work. This can be as simple as checking your calendar at the beginning of the week and setting aside time for strategic thinking, team meetings or personal development. Blocks of time are a fundamental part of high productivity here.

3. Feedback as a Continuous Process

Regular feedback ensures that everyone involved knows and is aware of their performance. Active feedback from team members and stakeholders allows project managers to identify gaps, celebrate successes, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

4. Structured Communication

Drucker believes that meetings should not be bloated in terms of personnel. He suggests that while everyone involved in the project should be invited, the invitation should clearly state the goal and purpose. Furthermore, it should be communicated directly that one should only appear at the meeting if the information is essential for one or one would like to contribute to the discussion. Otherwise, a summary is distributed to all participants afterwards to avoid the fear of missing information.

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5. The Art of Saying No Even Sometimes

In a world of endless demands and limited resources, the ability to turn down redundant meetings or tasks is crucial. This allows project managers to focus on the things that really matter and ensure that the team's energy is spent on the most important activities.

6. Clarity in Your Own Added Value

What contribution can I make to my company? Drucker was a proponent of the idea of defining one's own added value. By having transparent conversations with stakeholders about expected outcomes, project managers can establish clear performance metrics. This ensures accountability and creates a roadmap for the team's efforts.

7. Evaluate and Adapt

In the ever-evolving landscape of project management, not everything that has worked in the past will work in the future. Evaluate recurring meetings, frameworks, and methodologies on a regular basis. If something is no longer proven to work, it's time for a change.

8. The Art of Staying Focused

In an era of constant notifications and distractions, Drucker's emphasis on focus and mindfulness stands out. By being present in every interaction and task, project managers can make better decisions and connect more deeply with their teams. Always be in the moment and not already mentally in the next deadline.

By internalizing and implementing these principles, you can lead your team more effectively and deliver exceptional value to your organizations and stakeholders. In addition, if you need a suitable project management software, hopefully you know where to find us.

Posted by Marvin Blome on November 2nd, 2023 under Project Management
Tags: book_review lessons_learned

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