See how just 15 minutes of project management time a day made a difference in the life of one of our clients.

The Goal: Stop the Burn Out

When we last gave you a peek inside The Scarpetta Group (brilliant FileMaker developers who have a great CRM product, Jarvis), small business owner Joe Scarpetta was using our project management services, where we helped him keep control of all of the responsibilities he juggles.

By March 2020, we had significantly helped Joe manage the big picture. So the next steps involved getting into the nitty-gritty of supporting his team members. Our first employee rescue mission was for James Scarpetta, Joe’s brother.

James is a senior Filemaker Developer at the company. He had two clients who both had major launches planned for the same time, and was trying to balance client work with an internal product launch for The Scarpetta Group. He was definitely feeling the overwhelm. James had been working over 10 hours a day for almost six months, which is not sustainable, especially during a pandemic. “I can’t see how I can take any time off” he would tell us. Burnout was happening, and focusing on the right tasks at the right time was almost impossible. 

The Tactics: The 15-Minute Project Manager

We made James a promise: spend just 15 minutes of project management time with us a day, and we’ll make the overwhelm go away.

So Senior Project Manager Laura Elliott set out to change James’ life with just a 15-minute a day status, (less than two hours a week because after Monday, the check-ins usually were quicker) block of project management time. She told James, “I’m going to set up morning check-ins of what you need to do that day, and then after a month of doing that and getting the immediate needs done, we can start talking about the big picture.” 

We structured the agreement like this: Laura called James every morning at 9:30 for their 15-minute call. Laura began by recapping the tasks for the day: “This is what I know is on your plate today. Is there anything else I’m not thinking of?” James would then fill her in if there were any new requests she didn’t know about.

Once they discussed the full plate of tasks on Mondays, Laura prioritized the week’s workload. Her direction would sound something like: “This is what I think the plan for the week should be…Tuesday you’re doing this…Wednesday you’re working on this. Thursday you’ll be waiting for client feedback.” The plan for the week was then set. The rest of the week Laura checked in to make sure the plan was still on track and would make adjustments if needed. 

Laura used Slack for her check-ins with James. The beauty of a seamless collaboration platform like Slack is not only do we use it to talk among our internal team, but also with our clients, like The Scarpetta Group. A Slack check-in could be just a quick ping mid-afternoon from us simply asking “How is progress going?” and, “Is it what you anticipated?”

“If he’s anticipated to make a switch on client work, I ping him then to make sure he doesn’t get caught up in other things. If there has been a pivot to other work, we then discuss if that’s something he should be pivoting on.” ~ Laura 

The Results: Focusing on the Right Priorities 

A positive side effect of our project management services for James is that our value extended beyond James to his clients! James’ clients began to contact Laura directly to find out his availability and status, freeing up James from back-and-forth communication. That meant he could focus on doing what he does and loves best – development work. James’ clients began to understand how to prioritize their own requests versus bombarding him daily with “DO IT NOW!”

Six months later and life is feeling much better for James. He finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel and took some time off away from work. He has also learned how to manage his time better and his days are much more structured. 

Geico may say that 15 minutes may save you 15%, but we say that 15 minutes a day will save your sanity. That 15 minutes a day, just two hours a week, is how things actually get done. In James’ case, it set the tone for the week and established guardrails to protect his time so he could keep moving toward his development targets and not have to think about his schedule and what else needs to be done. It’s easy to get caught up in worrying about the big picture, but that can also prevent you from focusing on what you need to get done. 

Laura helped me get out of the constant switching between projects and actually get the work done by having me stay focused unless there was a client emergency. Once she also understood that i can’t focus if i am jumping around projects we only planned to be in one for the morning and another in the afternoon which let me finally get caught up.” – James Scarpetta

We are here to help. If you feel like James, then our Implement Services are right for you. Implement is purchased as a bank of pre-paid hours of project management time, like, two hours a week. There is no obligation to continue to refill the hourly bank. However, we find that once you start using our Implement services, you’ll be addicted to the results.