October 30, 2015

Finding the time – perspectives of a project manager

Carita Lehtonen

Project Manager, ECM, Tieto

We are living in the era of endless possibilities. Our work is seldom tied to a certain time or a place, which enables us, for example, to travel around the world and meet more people than ever before. Virtual meetings and chat services also expand these opportunities even further. It seems that most of our days are so full of action then, that the one commodity there is never enough of, is time.

Managing projects is about helping other people to cope with long to-do lists and a large ‘inbox’ of issues to solve while simultaneously finding an organized way to do your own work every day. Mostly, it means prioritizing delegating and knowing how to delineate time between different tasks.

Furthermore, it also means creating backup plans in case things don’t go according to the original plan – and often they don’t. These are the times when it comes down to being part of a solid team. It’s kind of like ice-hockey where your team is leading 5-0, and right in the final minute you opponent suddenly begins scoring one goal after another. How do you manage to reorient as a team to overcome the situation and then consolidate the win?

When I think about life outside of work, the expectations we all face aren’t really that different. As much as I want to be good at my job, I also want to take care of my own well-being and my family, have a decent-looking home and make sure that my car visits the gas station every once in a while. The better I have all the components of my private life in order, the better I will shine at work.

Luckily, in the IT industry, the possibilities for time management are pretty unique. We have flexible working hours, remote working options and a culture that promotes independency and freedom. However, having such options means also dealing with certain challenges. When not bound to nine to five working hours, there is an even greater demand for the need to prioritize and find the right work-life balance. This requires taking the responsibility of both your own and the entire team’s well-being. It means acknowledging and understanding the limits of the time and energy of an individual, and knowing when to ask for and offer help.

I feel that at Tieto, people truly can achieve that balance. Myself and my colleagues also all have a life outside of work, because whenever we need backup, we can contact people literally from all over the world, and get the help and support required. And we really are together playing the same game, even if it’s 5-0, 5-5 or 5-6.

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