Radical Time Management – IW Style

Just your average Friday

Today has seen the inaugural IW Team Learning Day. We have graduated from our routine of monthly ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions to a full blown day in the second office (Jonna’s house) getting the team together to do some learning of our own.

The topic was, well, topical. Getting 10 people together for a day out of the office, with half the team in APAC delivering simultaneous leadership programmes on four continents and the office walls now 80% obscured behind KANBAN boards, was in itself an impressive feat of time management. If you are a believer in the Eisenhower matrix (below) you will no doubt be familiar with the challenge of making time for the Important, not Urgent tasks like self development and team-building, but we all have to find ways of Sharpening the Saw and honing our skills.


At IW we have two complimentary passions: The buzz of a big, beautiful project to deliver against a challenging deadline, and the satisfaction of knocking off early having shipped the work ahead of time and going for a run, a swim, or a climb at the local wall. A day discussing how to do more, faster, surrounded by people who pride ourselves on “getting stuff done” was eye opening and well worth the effort!

Being L&D professionals and innovators, we also couldn’t help maximising the impact of our time (check out Covey’s thoughts on Synergy in the famous 7 Habits) by creating some new IP and a great theory of time management, coming soon to a training room near you… As all these things need a catchy title, this one is still in progress, but for now we have a working name (credit to Josh Myers): The PEE model.

PEE on it

We looked at three aspects of time management and planning for projects and tasks:

  • Productivity
  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness

Clearly all of these aspects are important in a high speed, high performance team. But in what order?

Effectiveness is always the starting point. We need to be 100% clear what we want to achieve (Starting with the End in Mind – thanks again to Mr Covey) But then what next?

We ended up diving into an animated discussion about the sequence and priorities of these, until Matteo Bisato (he of ‘feedbacks’ fame) brought a designer’s conceptual clarity to the question:

If the priority is quality, then look at productivity to see how to achieve the maximum impact outcome, and then consider what efficiencies can be made. If speed, or quantity is the #1 goal, then efficiency comes first, followed by productivity. EPE or EEP.

So what?

That’s all great, but what about when both quality and speed of delivery are priorities (like always…) then we look for the optimum balance point between the two. In manufacturing  this is called the Minimum Viable Product. What will get the job done and satisfy (delight) the client, in the simplest possible way. Do that.

So if this article isn’t as perfectly crafted as some, and the visuals are not quite to the usual IW design studio standard, guess what? I put my hand up to write a blog at lunchtime on a Friday, and at 1700 this is written and two other key projects shipped. Take that Stephen Covey. Time for drinks to celebrate Andrea’s birthday.