I am generally an impatient person.  It’s not that I don’t like hard work.  I’m willing to put forth the effort to get what I want.  But when I set my eyes on something, I want it as soon as I can.  And when I have a problem, I want it solved as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, having something now is not always the best answer, especially not in project management.  We could contract a guy to do our customer support now, but if we don’t spend time to train him, he may drive customers away.  We may think that stopping bickering among team members will bring about team harmony, but it may only cause resentment to stir underneath the surface.

If you are impulsive, like me, here are some questions to ask yourself before making major decisions:

  • Am I doing this for the right reasons or as a knee jerk reaction? If you’re constantly going on a gut impulse, it’s no wonder your decisions don’t turn out the way you plan.  Take a moment to think of multiple solutions instead of choosing the first one that comes to your head.
  • Do I have enough information to make a decision? It can be hard to determine if you have the right information.  If it’s a personnel problem, the more info under your belt the better.  If it’s a major project milestone, you better make sure the stakeholders are involved or else you risk not understanding all of their needs.
  • Am I in the right mood to make this decision? This may seem silly, but really, don’t send emails in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep.  You’re not functioning at your best.  If you’re under the weather or feeling snappy, it also may be a sign that you should hold off before making a rash decision.
  • Am I focusing on the right problems? You might be delving farther ahead in the project because it’s your comfort zone.  Make sure you’re not putting off decisions that need to be made now just so you feel more comfortable.
  • Can waiting increase my options? Sometimes, a little patience will provide you the chance to follow better solutions.  Putting aside a good idea until the right time can make it more valuable in the future than it is today.

Just remember: sometimes the best things come to those who wait.  Any questions you want to add to the list?

-Deborah Fike

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