The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
Published February, 2012

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As author Peter Taylor states on the front flysheet of his book: "The Lazy Project Manager illustrates how anyone can apply the simple techniques of lazy project management in their own activities and consequently improve work-life balance." Thus, Peter introduces his concept of "productive laziness".

Peter practices from the UK and draws on his project experiences in that part of the world. We suspect that had he been in North America, he would have hastened to register his copyright on "lazy project management" or something similar before some other bright spark copyright's it with a view to making money out of his approach.

Peter's approach centers on three themes:

  1. Working smarter
  2. The Pareto principle, and
  3. The shape of the Brontosaurus

If that doesn't grab your attention, nothing will.

But how can "lazy" tie into "working smarter"? Sounds like an oxymoron to us. First, we have to understand what Peter means by "lazy" and indeed he goes to some length to clarify what he means. As Peter explains it:

"Lazy does not mean stupid. No, I really mean that we should all adopt a more focused approach to project management and exercise our efforts where it really matters, rather than rushing around like busy, busy bees involving ourselves in unimportant, non-critical activities that others can better address, or which do not need addressing at all in some cases."[1]

Peter calls this "productive laziness".[2]

Peter goes on to explain that there is a science behind this laziness and that is the Pareto Principle. As he describes it:

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that for many phenomena, 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes. The idea has a rule of thumb application in many places, but it's also commonly misused. For example, it's a misuse to state that a solution to a problem 'fit's the 80-20 rule' just because it fits 80% of the cases; it must also be implied that this solution requires only 20% of the resources needed to solve all cases."[3]

Peter notes that "laziness" tends to be a negative term, or at least "self-indulgence", while

"productiveness is seen as a very positive term ... So, put the benefits of productiveness together with an intelligent application of laziness and you get 'productive laziness'."[4]

Simply put, by working smarter and hence getting the most bang for your buck!


1. Peter Taylor, The Lazy Project Manager, Infinite Ideas Limited, Oxford, UK, Introduction, p1
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid, p5
4. Ibid, p12
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