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I am the director of project management for a company that does very airport projects, often over $50M, a good number over $100M. I have 12 Project Managers (directs), and 6 support staff (planners, coordinators - also directs) and 5 dotted-line directs. About half are based on my location at our main office and the rest are remote. I started O3's when I started here about 2 months ago, and they are going well. Keeping above 80% overall for my weekly O3's.

However, it is a lot of time - although only about 20-25% of an 40-hour work week, the schedule is tough when I have travel - airports on both costs, midwest, and in Canada. And it is tough when I have to deal with the numerous unplanned issues. I have O3's primarily scheduled Tue-Thu, but with weeks I travel, or have a significant unplanned issue, it is almost impossible to reschedule. 

Thoughts or suggestions on how to manage O3's in this situation? I've thought that maybe with my senior PM's, going to every other week just to build in some bandwidht for rescheduling or the problems that typically come up in this business. I like my weeklys, and so does the team, but it doesn't seem sustainable as I get deeper into site issues for the company in my role.

NLewis's picture

It sounds like you have too much on your plate for one person to handle effectively.  Can you either -

1) Delegate some of your duties to your highest performers so you can concentrate on managing the team?  Or

2) Re-organize your team so that part of it reports to your highest performers, allowing them to do the O3s and report back to you?  That way you can concentrate on your other duties?

Perhaps some combination of the two.  I've never had more directs than there were days of the week so I've never faced this issue.  But I've often wondered how I would handle it.  I'm interested in what some of the others have to say.  Please keep us posted on how it all works out.  I for one would love to know.

SHP's picture

Matt - I had a similar question that may be helpful.  https://www.manager-tools.com/forums/trinity-team-lead-hierarchy/

Nutshell - making anyone a non-supervisory "team lead" is messy. 

If you have the lattitude to do so, reorganize... make yourself director of several working managers.  Are any of these PMs a "program manager" as opposed to just a project manager?  They would be natural candidates.

Unsolicited advice - don't let yourself "get deeper into site issues" if that means becoming the firefighter and/or fixer.  Let the PMs handle it and hold them accountable.  You'll be showing them how to let the engineer/architect/designer/whatever handle the technical details.  As a manager of technical professionals, a significant portion of the conflict I coach my directs on involves a non-technical PM meddling in technical details.  My past director of PMs cost the company a quarter million in rework because she overrode the lighting specification for an industrial facility.

joanbriggs's picture

[quote]

Matt - I had a similar question that may be helpful.  https://www.manager-tools.com/forums/ run 3 trinity-team-lead-hierarchy/

Nutshell - making anyone a non-supervisory "team lead" is messy. 

If you have the lattitude to do so, reorganize... make yourself director of several working managers.  Are any of these PMs a "program manager" as opposed to just a project manager?  They would be natural candidates.

Unsolicited advice - don't let yourself "get deeper into site issues" if that means becoming the firefighter and/or fixer.  Let the PMs handle it and hold them accountable.  You'll be showing them how to let the engineer/architect/designer/whatever handle the technical details.  As a manager of technical professionals, a significant portion of the conflict I coach my directs on involves a non-technical PM meddling in technical details.  My past director of PMs cost the company a quarter million in rework because she overrode the lighting specification for an industrial facility.

[quote]

Thanks very much. It was very helpful.

matt@mattduboislaw.com's picture

Thanks for the feedback. I've been able to make things work pretty well so far. My overall O3 for the team (currently at 21) ranges between 50% and 100%. I had to decide to be ok with an average O3 of 75% and not worry too much about hitting 100%. 

It's not easy to describe briefly, but at least for the next year, there is not a good way to reorganize or delegate the staff management. The project teams we have are each unique and there isn't a way to set up an intermediary management structure. 

And as far as site issues, that's why they brought me here. I think in another year, the teams will have enough experience for me to get out of some of the details, but I have to provide the detailed advice as well as the management for the teams. We have mostly new people and it another 12-18 months with some more experienced hires that I've brought in, it probably looks a little different.

Matt