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Monkey Management for Project teams. Mike Graupner, PMP Agenda. What is a monkey? How do you get monkeys? What is the process? Why do we manage Other People Monkeys? (OPM’s) How do we manage all our monkeys? How do we prioritize?. Learning Objectives.

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Monkey management for project teams l.jpg

Monkey Management for Project teams

Mike Graupner, PMP - 714.349.8170

Agenda l.jpg

  • What is a monkey?

  • How do you get monkeys?

  • What is the process?

  • Why do we manage Other People Monkeys? (OPM’s)

  • How do we manage all our monkeys?

  • How do we prioritize? - 714.349.8170

Learning objectives l.jpg
Learning Objectives

  • Time management is working on the right thing at the right time.

  • To accomplish time management, you must

    • Give youritems the top priority

      • (Feed your monkeys)

    • Let other people work their problems

      • (Let them feed their monkeys)

    • Prioritize the work based on value

      • (Magic Quadrant) - 714.349.8170

What is a monkey l.jpg
What is a Monkey?

  • Monkeys are issues/actions that people bring to you to solve.

  • We use the Monkey on your back metaphor to describe issues, and the ownership of issues.

  • Issues may be problems, tasks or other items in your life that you need to resolve.

  • It is not avoiding work, rather managing time!!! - 714.349.8170

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Core Concepts

  • You are the master of your domain

  • “When trouble is what you are looking for, you will be handsomely rewarded”

    • Don’t look for more monkeys! - 714.349.8170

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Where did the Monkey concept come from?

  • First Identified In Harvard Business Review ~ 1970

  • Managing Management Time

    • William Oncken, Jr.

    • C 1984

    • ISBN 0-13-551986-4

  • The One Minute manager meets the Monkey

    • Kenneth Blanchard/ William Oncken, Jr., Hall Burrows

    • C 1989

    • ISBN 978-0-688-10380-4

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    • Stephen R. Covey

    • C 1989

    • ISBN 978-0-7432-6951-3 - 714.349.8170

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What is Monkey Management?

  • Imagine someone walking into your office with a Monkey on their back

  • They say, “I have this problem, there is a monkey on my back, and I would like to put the monkey on your back”

  • What would you say?

    • “Great! Load it up, add it to the dozen I have already?” - 714.349.8170

Where do monkeys come from l.jpg
Where do Monkeys come from?






Your Back - 714.349.8170

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Monkey Transference

  • The process of transferring problems from one owner to a another owner

  • Results

    • Generate Stress

    • Prevent you from working on your assigned higher priority tasks

    • Prevent you from being perceived as effective. - 714.349.8170

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What to do?

  • Recognize the monkey

    • “Help me to understand the issue”

  • Determine the owner

    • “Hmmm, who needs to solve this issue?”

  • Define the Impact

    • “How is this affecting us?”

  • Get agreement of ownership

    • I am not sure this is on my plate, do you agree?

  • Help the owner find an action plan

    • “If you did X, would this help?” - 714.349.8170

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Why do we do it?

  • We MUST help people with problems!

    • Boy/Girl Scouts

    • School

    • Church

  • We WANT to be the Hero!

    • They will appreciate you for managing their problems

  • We are programmed at an early age to fail! - 714.349.8170

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The Hard Truths

  • Not every problem is your problem

    • Work your monkeys first

  • Not every problem you see needs to be fixed

    • Ask yourself, “am I responsible to take this on?”

  • Taking on Other Peoples Monkey (OPM) may not be appreciated

    • Them: “Thank god I got rid of that!’

    • Manager “Why is he/she working on that when I need this done!”

  • Adopting OPM’s generates unnecessary stress in your life!

  • Time management is key! - 714.349.8170

Example l.jpg

  • Co worker comes and tells me that the PMO Projector is not being managed correctly.

    • I was the PM that procured the projector

    • The projector was turned over to the departmental admin to manage

    • The projector is not being returned with the cables and non-PMO staff are not respecting the reservations. - 714.349.8170

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  • Why is this an issue?

    • Waste PM time and makes the meeting start late

      • Self image ?

  • Who owns the problem

    • Projector users (not me at this point)

  • Potential solutions

    • PM’s prepare an hour early

    • Speak with the admin about the process

    • Buy a second projector

  • Note since I am not a projector user

    • This is not my monkey! - 714.349.8170

Results l.jpg

  • Allow the person with the issue to consider action

  • If no action is taken, it must not have been that big of issue - 714.349.8170

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  • Who’s Menkoy is tihs ?

  • If my agneda is cmmoncatoins, is splleinig my Mkoney? - 714.349.8170

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Monkey Management Rules

  • In addition to the law of monkey management, the authors list six rules of managing monkeys that are instructive to managers. These include:

    • 1. Monkeys should be fed or shot.

      • No one likes the consequences of a starving monkey. They tend to be very disagreeable and squeal and raise a ruckus. Monkeys must be fed periodically; in this analogy, the problem must be dealt with between the manager and the employee with the problem on a regular basis. If the monkey can be shot (the problem solved quickly), then feeding times are not necessary.

    • 2. Every monkey should have an assigned next feeding time and a degree of initiative.

      • After a feeding session, the manager should select an appropriate time for the next feeding and should have a number of action steps for the employee to take. "Can we meet next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. to see how things are going and what we should do next?"

    • 3. The monkey population should be kept below the maximum number that the manager has time to feed.

      • The authors suggest that it should take 15 minutes to feed a monkey, and that managers should keep the list of problems that are in various stages of solution at a manageable number. - 714.349.8170

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Monkey Management Rules

  • 4. Monkeys should fed by appointment only.

    • Allowing employees to bring problems to you on their timetable increases the chances that the monkey will move from the employee to the manager. By setting specific times for addressing the problem, managers empower employees to make interim decisions about the problem, and still report back.

  • 5. Monkey feeding appointments may be rescheduled but never indefinitely postponed.

    • Either party, the manager or the subordinate, may reschedule a feeding appointment for any reason, but it must be scheduled to a specific time to avoid losing track of the monkey.

  • 6. Monkeys shall be fed face to face or by telephone, but not in writing.

    • Holding feeding sessions via e-mail or memo transfers the monkey to the manager. An employee can pass the monkey to the manager by simply requesting a response. Feedings that take place in person or on the phone require the monkey to remain with the employee unless the supervisor takes an affirmative step to take it.

  • Proper delegation skills, properly applied as suggested in this creative approach, can help managers better solve problems and develop their employees' problem solving skills. Visualizing each problem as a monkey that is impatient and noisy can help managers see problems as they really are and address them in the best possible way. Beware of the monkeys that may come into your life today!

  • - 714.349.8170

    Managing monkeys l.jpg
    Managing Monkeys

    • Goal of Time Management: Get control over the timing and content of what you do.

    • Enlarge discretionary time by eliminating subordinate-imposed time.

    • Use a portion of this newfound discretionary time to see to it that each subordinate possesses the initiative without which he or she cannot exercise initiative, and then see to it that this initiative is in fact taken.

    • Use another portion of the increased discretionary time to get and keep control of the timing and content of both boss-imposed and system-imposed time. - 714.349.8170

    Once you can identify your monkeys l.jpg
    Once you can identify your monkeys

    • Use the magic quadrant:


    Not Urgent/Important

    Urgent/Not Important

    Not Urgent/Not Important - 714.349.8170

    Priorities l.jpg

    • Urgent/Important

      • Do first

        • Typically from Management

    • Important/Not Urgent

      • Do Second

        • Typically from your work assignment

        • Keeps the Urgent/Important items to a minimum

    • STOP – You are done - 714.349.8170

    Why stop l.jpg
    Why Stop?

    • “Not Urgent/Not Important or Not Important tasks are not worth doing

    • No Value!

    • If worked, you will most likely not get to other tasks of value - 714.349.8170

    Understanding value l.jpg
    Understanding Value

    • Inputs

      • Boss Imposed (1)

      • System Imposed (2)

      • Self Imposed (3)

    • Leverage

      • Employee time (1)

      • Supervisory time (2)

      • Executive time (3)

    • Output

      • Stabilizing time (1)

      • Corrective time (2)

      • Progressive time (3) - 714.349.8170

    Understanding inputs l.jpg
    Understanding Inputs

    • Inputs

      • Boss Imposed (1)

        • Assignments from the boss

      • System Imposed (2)

        • Assignments from the system (budgeting, time approval etc…)

      • Self Imposed (3)

        • E.G. Working on next years problems.

    • Boss giving input has the least value, because you are not anticipating their needs.

    • Self Imposed time is when you can work on magical things. - 714.349.8170

    Understanding leverage l.jpg
    Understanding Leverage

    • Leverage

      • Employee time (1)

        • Managing Monkeys yourself

      • Supervisory time (2)

        • Managing monkeys by delegation

      • Executive time (3)

        • Managing monkeys by assignment

    • Doing is the least value, assigning has the most value (process driven) - 714.349.8170

    Understanding outputs l.jpg
    Understanding Outputs

    • Output

      • Stabilizing time (Value = 1)

        • Admin functions/ today’s problems

      • Corrective time (Value = 2)

        • Solutions/Responses to this years Problems/Opportunities

      • Progressive time (Value = 3)

        • Solutions/Responses to next years Problems/Opportunities - 714.349.8170

    Least valuable time l.jpg
    Least Valuable Time

    • Inputs

      • Boss Imposed (1)

        • Boss tells you to

    • Leverage

      • Employee time (1)

        • Manage the monkey yourself

    • Output

      • Stabilizing time (1)

        • To fix today's problem - 714.349.8170

    Most valuable time l.jpg
    Most Valuable Time

    • Inputs

      • Self Imposed (3)

        • You tell you to

    • Leverage

      • Executive time (3)

        • Identify and Assign Monkeys

    • Output

      • Progressive time (3)

        • For Solutions/Responses to Next Years Problems/Opportunities - 714.349.8170

    Don t ignore 1 1 1 l.jpg
    Don’t ignore 1,1,1!

    • Least valuable time is important, but try to keep it down to a minimum

    • Try to grow the percentage your are spending on most valuable time (3,3,3)

    • Balance is the key! - 714.349.8170

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    Exercise #1

    • Break into 5 people teams

      • Identify a Monkey of each team member that jumped on your back in the last week

      • Define a strategy for moving the monkey back to the proper owner

      • Be prepared to report to the group on each issue - 714.349.8170