Life’s a Project
In delivering a Project Management workshop this past week to an experienced group whose core function is managing projects, I couldn’t help but wonder why they had booked themselves on my training. Energetically I picked up that their need was far greater than the obvious…
We often refer to Project Management in business terms, as a subject that requires a high level of education and experience. This is true, but project management is at the source, ‘life’.
A project can best be described as a task that has a ‘start and a finishing date with a budget in the middle’.
Life is therefore the perfect example of a project – ‘birth, death and a whole lot of money to sustain it in-between’.
And so is every day a project; you wake up, you manage your day, and then you go to sleep’.
In using such simple, yet deep analogies of the essence of a project, you can’t help but wonder ‘how’ you actually project manage your daily lives?
The five phases of a project, no matter what the project is, how big or small, all operate along the same principles:
- Phase 1: The Initiation Phase. Otherwise known as the foundation phase. This is when the concept of the project is clearly identified. In the case of your day, this would be how you choose to start your day. The more time and effort you put into this phase, the better the final outcome.
- Phase 2: The Planning Phase. This is where all the mechanics take place together with structure and budget. In a typical day this would be where you plan your day and how you’re going to be doing your work.
- Phase 3: The Execution Phase. You’re now in the driver’s seat. You’re ready to take action and you’re implementing your plan. In a typical day, this is when you’re meeting your targets, reaching goals, performing at full throttle.
- Phase 4: The Monitoring Phase. A time for constant alignment, re-calibration, re-adjusting. Applying flexibility to ensure flow. In a typical day, this is when you check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling?
- Phase 5: The Closing Phase. This is the time to wrap up. The project is complete. You’ve handed it over. You’ve done your best, you’ve met the criteria and you feel satisfied and rewarded. In your personal life, this would be home time, a glass of red wine, a hot bath, doing a yoga practice, go for a run, spending quality time with children or a partner, and then some well-deserved sleep.
There’s nothing complicated about following through the five phases of a project; however the trouble starts when you skimp on the initiation phase and forget to properly close shop.
Instead you sail straight into the planning and execution phases and hope for the best. Then you wonder why you end the day feeling exhausted, not having accomplished much and feeling short-changed.
A project is a cycle that begins at one point and ends the loop on the other. Just as life does!