Recently, I wrote a posting regarding the concept of PreMortem, inspired by an amazing podcast which I’d heard. That can be found here. I felt that this concept of a PreMortem could be interpreted exceptionally well within a framework of project management. The idea that thinking of as many variables and hindrances to the success of individual tasks, which in turn would delay the milestones necessary to the completion of the project as a whole quite literally correlated to medical care, and the goals of the wellness of a person or a project as a whole really resonated with me.
In my new series of the following five posts, I’m going to discuss how concepts of IT code, can correlate to those of the living of a life, almost as if these are life-hacks, will begin with how I’ve seen project management as a potentially correlative element to life in general, and my goals of success in living this life. This is not to say that I am entirely successful, as the determination of success is quite individual, and what I see as successful may not be what you or anyone else see as successful. But, I do feel that each day I’m getting better in my goals, and achieving new goals each day.
I suppose we should determine what these goals are, and whether financial, physical, fitness, emotional, romantic, professional, social, or whatever else matters to you are success goals. For me, lately, a big one has become getting better at guitar. But ultimately, the goals themselves are not as important as the achievement of them for the individual.
So, how do I apply the tenets of project management to my goals? First and foremost, the most critical step is keeping the goals in mind.
- Define your goals and timelines
- Define the steps to achieve your goal
- Determine those assets necessary to achieve these goals, including vendors, partners, friends, equipment, etc. Get buy in to those steps
- Define potential barriers to the accomplishment of those goals: These barriers can be obvious, such as travel for work, illness, family emergency, etc.
- Define those barriers (as best you can) of those unknown barriers.
- Establish a list of these, the potential roadblocks, and contingencies toward mitigating these roadblocks
- Develop work-arounds for the roadblocks in an effort to bypass or incorporate these barriers to the plans, both in timeline and with an eye toward the overall goal
- Work it: What does this mean? It means engaging with individuals who’ve been determined as integral to the achievement of the tasks to keep them in line with their tasks, keeping an eye on those commitments you’ve made with yourself to the steps you’ve outlined for yourself to accomplish these tasks, and doing the work necessary to make each discrete task, timeline, milestone accomplishable in the defined time frame
If necessary, a project diagram of each of your goals, including these steps in order, these milestones with dates marked as differentiators, and the ancillary tasks with their subtasks defined as in-line sub-projects. Personally, I do this step for every IT project toward which I’m involved. The visualization of a project as a precedence diagram assists me quite profoundly in the keeping of each timeline in check. I will also take each of these tasks and build an overall timeline of each sub-project, and put it together as a master diagram. By visualizing these, I can ensure that those projects that are coming but not yet begun, can be held in top of mind, while also giving me the heads-up to contact those outside resources as to their commitments, and continue to gain their buy in.
By approaching my goals with actual definition of them, the ability to maintain the timelines become far more specific, and approachable, as well as allowing me to see the successes both major and minor in the accomplishment of the project as a whole.
Below is a sample of a large-scale precedence diagram I created for a global DR project I’d completed a number of years back. As you start from the left side, and continue to the right you’ll see each step along the way, with sub-steps, milestones, go/no go determinations, and final project success on the far right. Of course, this is the diagram truly minimized in an effort to fit to the page. In this case, visibility into each step is not as important as is the definition and precedence of each step. What does that step rely on for the achievement of this step? These have all been defined on this diagram.
The satisfaction I garner from a personal or professional task well accomplished can not be minimized.