Delivering projects is difficult.

Managing team members, governance reviews and stakeholders adds to the challenge.

This can all combine to a significant amount of mental effort.


Mental models help simplify what is going on around you.


What are Mental Models? They are simple thought activities that help make sense of the world and correctly interpret information and context.

There are many models to use – check out Peter Hollins book Mental Models

Here are 6 to consider and try. Let me know how they have helped.


1 – Important v Urgent:

Address important activities and ignore urgent. Important and Urgent are very separate things. Important tasks contribute directly to the short term or long term goals.

Urgent tasks demand immediacy and speed and usually come for other people ( esp bosses )

Is what you are doing important or urgent?


2- The Simplest explanation is usually the correct one. [Occam’s Razor].

Don’t overlook what is the simplest reason for what is happening.


3- Don’t fixate on small details [Parkinson’s Law of Triviality].

People are prone to overthinking and fixating on small details… to the detriment of larger issues and problems that are more important.


4- Seek Satisfiction.

This is a mixture of Satisfy and Suffice.

Make decisions that are good enough, adequate and fit for purpose.

Do you need any more data before making that decision?


5- Under 7 things.

We can generally hold up to 7 items at once in our short term/ working memory. Beyond that and we are prone to forgetfulness, errors.

Reduce the scope of discussion to under 7 items.


6– If in doubt Sketch it out

Use simple sketches, matrix or models in discussions and presentations.

An image quickly helps all align on a common understanding of status, actions and outcomes.


These mental models have helped understand what needs attention.

That changed my behaviour and the ability to deliver projects.


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