PM: Email Management – Part 1

Could anyone honestly say “I don’t get enough email?

Quite the contrary, most of us are so inundated with email that it can be a challenge to keep up! And, due to the varying nature of writing styles (e.g., from perfect grammar to cryptic / text message-like content) the information shared can often be confusing, out of context and/or incomplete. Combine this with an ever-increasing inbox and it is not difficult to imagine how easy it is to miss important information or waste a great deal of time trying to find things.

To further compound the situation, consider the “total” wasted time from, what often includes, multiple people trying to decipher a particular message and sharing their own thoughts in response. All this occurring in parallel with numerous other email threads we are obliged to keep up with.

It is only natural for things to fall between the cracks and/or significant miscommunications to occur.

There is a better way…

Because PM’s are the hub of communications and information flow relative to a specific project, we must be absolutely tenacious with regards to email management, to avoid the above mishaps on our projects. To support this, we’ll cover email management guidelines, including:

  • The 3-Step Email Handling Process
  • The Email Traffic Cop
  • Writing Effective Emails

The 3-Step Email Handling Process

To efficiently handle email consider the following 3 dispositions we have for each message received:

  1. Handle it immediately, and;
  2. File it for future reference or action, or;
  3. Trash it.

It REALLY is that simple, provided we’ve setup topic-specific folders to move messages into once they’ve been handled. And, when we move something out of the inbox, that requires future action, we’ll want to put an item on our to-do list for follow-up at the appropriate time.

When I don’t do the above I find myself spending WAY too much time wading through my inbox to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Keeping the inbox clear of everything except items that haven’t yet been handled eliminates this time waster. In addition, it makes it easier to find things in the future, since they’ve been filed in topic-specific folders.

In the next post we’ll cover the 2 remaining email management topics of:

  • The Email Traffic Cop
  • Writing Effective emails

In the meantime, if you are looking to improve PM competencies in yourself, or organization, feel free to reach out so we can discuss how I might help you.

Click here to go to the next post in this series.

2 thoughts on “PM: Email Management – Part 1

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