The Lazy Project Manager

Posted onby

Working smarter, not harder is not a new concept and is one project managers should not be afraid to embrace as projects become more complex. Author and speaker, Peter Taylor, has developed a popular methodology which uses this perspective. He offers a focused approach to managing projects which will create more opportunities for the project manager to concentrate on the tasks that matter the most.

How You Will Benefit

Students will be provided insights for applying the Pareto principle to accomplishing project work, as well as techniques for breaking down complex processes into easy to digest pieces. Lazy does not mean unsuccessful and this course will teach you how to employ simple approaches to completing projects while still making them a success.

What You Will Learn

The Lazy Project Manager. Peter Taylor is The Lazy Project Manager and his mission in life is to promote the philosophy of productive laziness and how you can apply a number of simple. The lazy project manager illustrates how anyone can apply the simple techniques of lazy project management in their own activities in order to work more effectively and consequently improve work-life balance. This 'productive laziness' approach builds on the Pareto principle that states that for many phenomena, 80 per cent of consequences stem from 20 per cent of the causes.

In this course you will learn techniques for increasing your productivity including:

  • What the science of laziness is and how it can be applied to your work day
  • The dinosaur theory and how it helps smart project managers target their efforts on the critical parts of a project
  • How effective communication, in person and over email, helps eliminate wasting time
  • Maintaining normal breath patterns, even during stressful situations, to ensure sound thinking and thought processes are always used
  • The process of conducting retrospectives to pinpoint areas of improvement for the future

The Lazy Project Manager. Working smarter, not harder is not a new concept and is one project managers should not be afraid to embrace as projects become more complex. Author and speaker, Peter Taylor, has developed a popular methodology which uses this perspective. The Lazy Project Manager has been the project management book to own in the twenty-first century and the second edition brings the art of lazy productivity bang up to date. Anyone can apply the simple techniques of lazy project management to their own activities in order to work more effectively and improve their work-life balance.

Who Should Attend

This course is intended for individuals looking for insights into how to work smarter, not harder as a project manager.


Video-on-demand; includes 6-months digital access to all training materials.

Duration / PDU Value

This course has been approved by PMI for 1 PDU.



  • Course Overview

Foundations of Laziness

The Lazy Project Manager
  • The Science of Laziness
  • The Intelligence of Laziness
  • The Focus of Laziness

The Lazy Project Manager And The Project From Hell

Thick at the Start

  • Ahead of the Game
  • Manage the Sponsor
  • Manage the Creep
  • Communication Breakdown

Much, Much Thinner

The Lazy Project Manager Pdf Free Download

  • All in a Fun Day’s Work
  • Breathing Normally
  • A lot of ‘Lurve’ in the Room
  • The Lights Are On (But No One’s Home)

Thick Again at the End

  • The Missing Link
  • Definition of Insanity

The Project Retrospective

The Lazy Project Manager Pdf

  • The Prime Directive
  • The 5 Key Questions
  • The 4 Freedoms
  • Emotional Seismograph


‘Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.’ Peter Taylor (The Lazy Project Manager)

As a project manager myself I was surprised to come across Peter Taylor’s article recently about the Lazy Project Manager’s Theory of Projects. To me the thought of a lazy project manager was an oxymoron; I mean surely if you want a project to succeed you need the project manager to be anything but lazy?

The Lazy Project Manager concept has struck a chord and I see it having benefits to our projects here at CM Health. In this blog post I share some aspects of this theory with you.

Essentially, the theory of the Lazy Project Manager is that: “All projects are thick at one end, much, much thinner in the middle and then thick again at the far end.”

If you’re a Monty Python fan you’ll recognise that this is based on the theory by Miss Anne Elk that: “All brontosauruses are thin at one end, much MUCH thicker in the middle, and then thin again at the far end.”

So what does this mean? Working on the ‘productive lazy rule’, a smart project manager should apply time and effort at the critical stages of a project i.e. the start and the finish, and less time in the middle or the less critical stage.

The Lazy Project Manager’s second theory is: “If you want to get a brontosaurus from ‘a’ to ‘b’ then you ride the dinosaur, you don’t carry it.” Now just to clarify, I’m not referring to CM Health as a dinosaur, this was merely the Monty Python reference!

The ‘thick’ front end

So what is it that a ‘lazy’ project manager should focus on during this initial ‘thick’ front end of their projects? And by front end, if you happen to know real project management terminology, we’re referring to project initiation. It’s about getting ahead and then staying ahead of the game. There are two areas to focus on to ensure the project starts off in the right way, at the right momentum, and with the right processes and controls in place:

  1. Planning a strategy for managing the two critical ‘players’ in any project i.e. the project sponsor, who should be known at this point, and the project creep, who will be unknown but could be anyone or everyone, including, if you are really unlucky, the project sponsor, or, if you are really stupid, the project manager (you)!
  2. Planning for zero communication breakdowns. General guidance suggests that some 70 per cent of your time as a project manager should be spent in some form of communication or other. There is a well-known project maxim that says: ‘Projects don’t fail at the end. They fail at the beginning.’

Much, much thinner in the middle

At this point the Lazy Project Manager should be directing the project and not trying to pick it up and carry its heavy load on their back all the way to the delivery gate. That’s the direct route to failure (and backache!). Rather, they should be driving the project on auto-pilot, from the comfy chair. The ‘lazy’ project manager now oversees the project with as light a touch as possible. All the planning was done at the ‘thick’ front-end of the project and now it’s all about execution and control.

Three things work well in the Lazy Project Manager’s world:

  1. Ensuring the project is conducted in a fun and enjoyable manner.
  2. Being prepared to throw that newspaper down, leap off the comfy chair and deal with problems as and when they occur in a controlled and productive manner.
  3. Spread a little love across your project team to engender good spirits and a confident air of potential success. Such love is a good thing, but you do need to avoid the trap of being swamped with attention, you need to learn how to operate an ‘open door’ policy, but avoid getting dragged in to every little project detail.

Then thick again at the far end

Time for one last effort to make life easier in the future.

The Lazy Project Manager says: “Now is not the time to declare the project a success and rush off for a Bloody Mary at the bar. No, now is the time that you can apply a small and final amount of effort, but gain enormous amounts of knowledge so that future projects are likely to be even more successful and potentially with even less effort.”

The Lazy Project Manager

By less effort he means much more time in the ‘comfy chair’ being lazy in a productive way. After reading the article I realised that one of the projects I’m working on here at CM Health, which began in 2013, has been following the Lazy Project Manager theory.

The ‘thick’ front end:

  • Time and effort from both parties went into ensuring the Project Executive and Project Manager developed a good working relationship.
  • The Project Creep kept appearing in various disguises, was hard to spot in some cases, but eventually showed his true colours and was shown the door.
  • The Project Board and the project initiation documents were set up at the beginning of the project and have been key to ensuring the project started off in the right way, has headed in the right direction, and at the right momentum.
  • Communications, communications and communications – were completed to ensure stakeholders were well informed.
  • Benefits and measures were agreed by the Project Board, as was the budget.

The Lazy Project Manager Podcast

Much, much thinner in the middle:

  • Monthly reporting was conducted, budgets maintained and benefits and measures tracked and monitored. Risks and issues registers are being maintained and discussed at the regular Project Board meetings.
  • The Project Manager was prepared to throw the newspaper down, leap off their comfy chair and deal with problems as and when they occurred.
  • Change requests were submitted for an increase in funding to match increased volumes and prompt discussions held if progress was slipping, an approach wasn’t working or measures weren’t as they should be.

Thick again at the far end:

To date the use of project methodology has enabled this project to make significant progress. It has also enabled the ‘new’ project manager to maintain structured project discipline with good transparency and accountability. The project team is also starting to realise that the world is round and when it feels like it might be the end, it can also be the beginning.

The Lazy Project Manager Pdf

Here’s to more Lazy Project Managers at CM Health!