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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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13.6. Be savvy

But being relentless doesn't mean you have to knock on every door, chase people down the hallway, or stay at work until you pass out at your desk. Sheer quantity of effort can be noble and good, but always look for ways to work smart rather than just hard. Be relentless in spirit, but clever and savvy in action. Just because you refuse to give up doesn't mean you have to suffer through mindless, stupid, or frustrating activities (although sometimes they're unavoidable). Look for smart ways around a problem or faster ways to resolve them. Make effective use of the people around you instead of assuming you have to do everything yourself. But most importantly, be perceptive of what's going on around you, with individuals and with teams.

A fundamental mistake many PMs make is to forget to assess who they are working with and adjust their approach accordingly. Navy Seals and Army rangers are trained to carry out missions on many different kinds of terrain: deserts, swamps, jungles, tundra. Without this training, their effectiveness would be limited: they'd struggle to survive on unfamiliar terrain because their skills wouldn't work (imagine a solider in green and olive camouflage, trying to hide on a snow-covered field). The first lesson they learn is how to evaluate their environment and consider what tactics and strategies from their skill set will work for where they are. The same is true for PMs. Instead of geographic environments, PMs must pay attention to the different ...

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