University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee School of Continuing Education
Project Management Monthly: March 2012: Tips and Tricks

Be More Critical – In a Good Way

By definition, critical thinking is:
  • ”the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.“
Got it? Now let’s talk about what it really means. Simply put, critical thinking is the ability to form clear thoughts and then use those thoughts to make good decisions.

For project managers, critical thinking is...well, critical. To ensure projects perform efficiently with positive results, critical thinking must be a constant. When challenges arise, a project manager must be able to execute on the four basic critical thinking steps:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Gather potential causes
  3. Determine the most likely cause
  4. Implement an action plan
Each of these steps requires the project manager to think clearly and make logical connections between problem–cause–effect-solution. This process requires a complex blend of independent evaluation, asking the right questions and reasoning.

And remember, these are just the ‘simple’ definitions of what it means to be
critical thinker.

There’s so much more to learn. Delve deeper into the many layers of critical thinking and how to promote its traits in yourself and others during the upcoming course Critical Thinking: Business Analysis and Decision–Making Strategies,
Apr. 26-27.

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