I am always amazed when vendors and clients we work with shy away from project management activities and comment, “Oh, I don’t know anything about that, I am so glad we have you to do that”. Well, I don’t want to give away any magical trade secrets, but LIFE is all about project management and everyone is engaged in projects every day.
I want to ask those who think project management is beyond their reach, “Have you ever planned a vacation, bought a house, moved, gone to the grocery store?” Every one of these activities requires you to know how long it will take (TIME), how much you will spend (COST), and what are your expectations (SCOPE). For example, going to the grocery store requires you to answer the following questions:
- What you are buying, food for dinner or filling your pantry with necessities? (SCOPE)
- Is it a payday week and what is the grocery budget for this trip? (COST)
- Can you stop on the way home from work or will it require a longer trip? (TIME)
It seems so simple to go to the grocery store; we often do it in autopilot mode. We do not stop and think about all of the factors which should be considered. Thus we just complete the task at hand without considering the impact or the resulting quality of a decision on the project. So how do we balance the three and maintain the expected quality?
The simple solution is PLAN, PLAN, and PLAN!
Arriving at the grocery to purchase food for dinner without a recipe or a list of items needed to prepare dinner can lead to walking back and forth between the aisles looking for what you think you need, wasting time. You add items to your basket that you see along the way because you are hungry and everything looks good, wasting money. You now have a cart, rather than a basket, full of items for “dinner” and you are now filling your pantry and the scope just significantly increased. As a working woman, wife, and mom to three busy kids, days, even hours without a plan leads to chaos.
My recommendation to all those people who think that they cannot grasp the concept of project management methodology, evaluate a day in your life and recognize you are a project manager. The next step, apply these basic principles to any event in your life and you are well on your way to becoming an effective project manager.
Quote: “Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal.” — Cornelius Fitchner