Apex 3 Blog
A blog to offer ideas, suggestions and techniques to turn around or fix troubled or failed IT projects

Suggestions for Handling Interruptions

by Mark Davison February 18. 2011 07:56
Interruptions seem to happen constantly!  How can a PM improve productivity, retain focus and handle interruptions with ease and diplomacy?

  • Recognize that your first obligation is to the person or group you are already in conversation with, or to the work you are in process of completing
  • Protect your current activity:  let the interrupter know that you are in the “middle of xxxxx” and will get back to him/her as soon as you finish
  • Finish the conversation or the work you are doing
  • Follow up with the interrupter as soon as possible and make it a time when you can focus on the interrupter's issues, questions, ideas, etc. 

Note 1:  if the interrupter is your manager, executive or other person “higher” on the organizational ladder or of special interest”¦

  • Same "rules" apply ”¦ do your best to retain continuity and finish the activity you are currently engaged in
  • It might be wise, however, to provide an explanation at the time of the interruption by stating the importance of the conversation/task currently underway, or providing the business reason for following up at a later time
  • You can even say that as soon as the current activity concludes you'll come to his/her office (or other location) to follow up in person
  • Then when the conversation or work wraps up, go to the office and follow up
Note 2:  Regarding electronics ... As difficult as this may seem - these rules also apply to interruptions that come in via cell phone call, text and instant messenger!  In this case, it might be possible to just ignore those little alerts until after the conversation or work is complete.


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About Mark Davison

Mark Davison

After 25+ years of working on and leading projects primarily in IT, I'm establishing this blog to share knowledge, ideas, tips and techniques regarding how to turnaround and fix troubled and failed projects

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