In Project Management

Project management is now a skill set that is desired among all industries worldwide. What is it that project managers do that makes these skills so valuable? There are fundamentals in project management that not everyone is aware of. For instance, did you know that a project manager spends 75-90% of their time communicating? The day in the life of a project manager is filled with meetings, e-mails, phone calls, gauging expectations, and using available resources (human and material) to plan and deliver a unique product or service.

A project manager has an enviable skill set for a number of reasons: they often know as much about psychology as they do management, they are gifted at understanding the value of a given project/task, time management and organisation are paramount to a project manager, and they got to that position by truly knowing their stuff.

What is your domain? Are you in information technology? Banking and finance? Construction? Or do you manage your household? Sometimes, project managers wear a variety of hats! If you want to start managing your life like a project, which means delivering what is needed; when it is needed; for what you are willing to pay for it, you came to the right place.

Prioritize. Determining what tasks are more important in life is a difficult thing to do. The ability to decipher the more valuable tasks from the less urgent will assist you in decision making. In project management there is a model referred to as the triple constraint. It is illustrated as such:

msp2k_project_triangle

This model demonstrates that when managing a project you cannot alter time, cost, scope, or quality without affecting another side of the triangle. Project managers often use the triple constraint to analyze the goals of the project. To use this triangle in your own life, you need to prioritize. What is more valuable to you? Money spend; time lost; quality degraded; or scope (i.e. the extent of work that needs to be done to reach your goals)? If you decide that money is paramount in your current position, you will likely have to sacrifice time, quality, and/or scope. A wise woman once said,

If all we’ve lost is time and money, we haven’t lost much at all. -Ranjini Cassup, PMP, CSSBB.

No particular prioritization is correct, but it is important to know what you require and what will help you reach your goals.

For example, if you want to buy a new computer  – you need to take time to research which model to buy and take time to learn the new machine. You’ll look at different models available on the market and do a price comparison. You weigh up the cost against the features and applications available on the machine and the quality associated with the brand. You may compromise on the features/scope because price is more important to you.

From Point A to Point B

Be ready to deal with change. Life has a way of changing. Frequently. These challenges are faced by project managers every day. It happens to be a very important part of the job. Dealing with change means understanding the reason behind the change and appreciating how the change will help you reach your goals. Adapting to change is all about remaining Agile. Keeping your eye on the bigger picture is most important, but being prepared to change how you get there will allow you to view these changes as opportunities instead of cumbersome. This will require a great deal of flexibility and adaptability.

For example, if you are going on a road trip with your family you may experience unforeseen circumstances. Perhaps there is a road closure on the direct route to your hotel. There is nothing that you can do to stay on the direct route so other options need to be considered. You open yourself up to be adaptive and flexible and take a different route. It may take you longer than planned, but you still arrive at your destination. Perhaps you even drove past something that you and your family decide to add to your vacation itinerary.

Have a backup plan. In project management having a back up plan helps deal with risks that could get in the way of achieving the end goal. It means you think beforehand what you will do to deal with problems that could come up rather than end up having unnecessary panic and delays if they occur. To a certain extent we do this naturally; for example if planning to travel to an important meeting, you’re likely to give yourself extra time ‘just in case’ there is extra traffic or train delays. So having a back up plan is about thinking through the “just in case” things that could happen and deciding how you will respond or putting some money aside to deal with the problem, should you need it.  Getting into the habit of thinking this way for your life and daily routine can help things go a lot more smoothly.

 

And visit our related posts:

Making decisions under pressure with limited time and resources

10 tips for getting up to speed with agile project management

Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.

-Nelson Mandela

Plan B Image courtesy of giantleapcoachingandconsulting.com

Triple constraint Image courtesy of talkagile.me

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