Project Management and Daily Life – 1 of 2
By: Collin Quiring
This is part one of a two part blog on using Project Management in our daily lives. My sister challenged me the other day by saying that all the stuff I do every day doesn’t apply to her (or my) life. In the area of Project Management, I disagree. I have worked in some jobs and career paths where what I did during the work day applied only to the work and there was no carryover to “real life” but, I don’t think that is true of Project Management.
Depending on our job/career, there are activities we do and knowledge we gain that can be used to enhance our daily lives as well. For example, a mechanic can use their skills at work and at home or an IT employee may be able to use some of their knowledge to troubleshoot (or get into trouble) with their home computer (and, seemingly, their friends’ computers). Likewise, a Project Manager can use their knowledge in their “real life”. I would argue that everybody uses some form of Project Management in their daily lives – we just don’t call it that. When a person starts their day and determines all of the errands, picking up and dropping off of kids and other duties that need to be done, they are creating a task list, building dependencies (or confirming that none exist), deadlines, time allotments and putting them in some order. And, they are assigning a resource – usually themselves.
Now, some would consider this just part of “life” and not necessarily Project Management. My point is that the knowledge and skill sets learned from work can be used in our daily lives. Just like a mechanic may obtain experience and abilities at work that they can use on their own vehicle I think that the Project Management profession can teach us some lessons for “life”.
One of the mantra’s of Project Management is COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION. This is probably a pretty good philosophy at home too. Situations caused by poor communication in life are almost a constant issue. We constantly are dealing with poor communication – from waiting for friends or family to meet us at one location at a certain time while they are at another place or think it is a different time to not knowing the price of an item we want to purchase at the store.
So, the answer, straight from PMBOK, is to have regular stakeholder meetings, take notes, distribute those notes, and hold everybody accountable. Well, maybe that isn’t realistic in our non-work lives, but, I know that in my life we send texts to update each other on our current status – where we are, what we are doing and what time we expect to be at certain locations. We used to write notes and stick them on the counter, but I guess those days are over.
In the PMBOK, Fourth Edition, there are nine Project Management Knowledge Areas, five Project Management Process Groups and twenty-three Project Management processes. Once you have your friends and family memorize them all and implement them in their daily lives, you will be set! Well, maybe not (you might get some pushback). However, of all that information, there are at least a few things that you can implement in your daily life to make yourself a bit more effective.
I think that there are others that agree with me – just look at Project Management sites and look at the types of templates that they have available. Yes, there are the ones about constructing a building and implementing IT. But, there are also templates for taking a vacation, planning a wedding and one for the steps required for a colonoscopy.