by Michael Tobis and Irene P. Tobis

Managing Multiple Projects

Table of Contents

Preface (download as a pdf file)

Chapter 1. Manager as Traffic Cop: Managing Multiple Projects
The Missing Tools in the Manager’s Toolbox
Time Management for Groups and Individuals
Personal Time Management
Intuitive Managing and Its Limits
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 1
Download pdf file of Chapter 1

Chapter 2. The Cheeseburger Paradox: The Question of Reliability
Order a Cheeseburger—Get a Cheeseburger
Managing for Reliability
The Intuitive Workplace
Manager’s Checklist for Chapter 2
Download pdf file of Chapter 2

Chapter 3. The Formal Workplace and Its Forms
Why Formalize?
How to Formalize with Forms
Bad Formalism (Bureaucracy)
Worthwhile Constraints
The Happy Medium
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 3

Chapter 4. Taskonomy: Categorizing Your Work
Why Categorize Work?
Tasks: What Are They?
Sequences and Sets of Tasks
Types of Work Processes
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 4

Chapter 5. What’s on Your Plate?
Are You Overloaded and Overwhelmed?
How Much Time Do You Have to Work With?
Your Project Portfolio
Your Background Routines
Crunch Time
About Time Deficits
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 5

Chapter 6. Out from Under
How Busy Are You?
The Emotional Demands of Overload
Addressing the Problem
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 6

Chapter 7. Group Time Management: “As Simple as Possible, but No Simpler”
Make Room for Change in Yourself
Extensions of Time Management
As Simple as Possible
Complications of Time Management
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 7

Chapter 8. Getting the Big Picture: Commitments and the Team
The Paradox of Slack
Interviewing Skills
Verify Your Estimates
The Overload Exercise with the Team
Some Other Ways to Know You’re in Trouble
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 8

Chapter 9. “Second Things Never ...”: The Trouble with Priorities
How Commitments Get Made
The To-Do-List Trap
The Productivity Paradox
Prioritization as a Symptom
Prioritization and Gatekeeping
Prioritization and Goal-Setting
Prioritization in Crisis
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 9

Chapter 10. Allocation for Efficiency: The Importance of Compartmentalization
The Airtight System
The Efficiency Paradox
Project Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
How to Compartmentalize
Reducing Complexity Through Compartmentalization
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 10

Chapter 11. “How Does It Know …?”: Tracking Systems
About Tracking
Compartmentalization and Tracking
Keeping Track
Airtight Listing of Responsibilities
Airtight Routines
Airtight One-Off Task Tracking
Task Size and Trust
Airtight Projects
Sequencing Strategies
When and Whether to Computerize
Tracking Closes the Loop
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 11

Chapter 12. How to Change a System
Timing Major Changes
The Reliable Workgroup
Manager's Checklist for Chapter 12

ISBN for this title: 0-07-138896-6

About the Authors

Michael Tobis, Ph.D. (systems engineer) and Irene Tobis, Ph.D. (psychologist) are partners in the consulting firm Ducks-in-a-Row® Efficiency Consultants, a company whose consultations focus on individual and small workgroup operations.

By combining their disparate perspectives and backgrounds, this husband/wife team brings unique insights to its work in individual and group productivity. The give-and-take between Michael’s systems engineering approach and Irene’s psychological insights has been instrumental in many of Ducks-in-a-Row’s successes.

Michael brings an information theory outlook to work process design. With his background in systems engineering, Michael finds questions of prioritization and scheduling particularly interesting.

Irene’s background as a psychologist with a focus in stress management underlies her professional activities in workflow consultation. She designs methods tailored to individual skills, resources, styles, and preferences. Her first goal is to get people past feeling overwhelmed. She then proceeds to help clients build skills toward greater productivity and satisfaction.

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