Project management is many things, but one major thing it does is take a complex project and simplify the steps into more digestable chunks. And the good news is that if you are a Project Manager by trade, you can use these tools for your own personal projects as well.
In April 2011, I decided to participate in a Marathon. Starting April 25th I was going to train until December 4th, 2011.. This project duration was 223 days or 32 weeks, and while the time frame was reasonable, it was still challenging for the scope given:
*Running a full Marathon of 42km in Singapore on the 4th of December 2011 ( which was not going to be easy for me).
This may be not a big challenge for a person who is in shape and is already participating in sports or other physical activities, but for me it was a big step. I weighed more than 100kg and had lived happily without sport activities for years unless you count hitting the keyboard daily and having the responsibility of running a project management company.
Regardless of how in or out of shape I was, the project started with me creating a project plan and following through with the action items. The key learning experiences that I received out of this project are outlined in the following 5 points:
1) To get a project done depends highly on personal commitment.
2) The last mile is the toughest (no kidding!).
3) Ignore the limits and just follow the plan to succeed. Believe that you can do it!
4) Whatever tool is out there to help you, YOU still need to “RUN” the show. The tool will not do it for you.
5) To run the marathon at the end of the project is a process. In order to complete the process you must honor and respond to the many milestones along the way. This takes personal leadership and maximum involvement from the beginning of the project.
I strongly believe the above 5 points are success factors for any project, whether it is a personal project such as a marathon or a large scale construction project. Project success depends on leadership and the people involved in the project, and regardless of how great your tools are, no tool will solve weaknesses in these areas. It is up to you.
Knowing the above, the translation into project management terms can be understood as follows:
*Have a clear vision.
*Know what you want by visualizing your end goal.
*Believe in yourself. Believe that you can achieve it.
*Create a clear plan what to do and how to do it – get a team to support you.
*Do it! Give everything it takes to achieve excellence!
Use this “recipe” for your personal visions and goals and also for your business projects. As with all things, a bit of mastery, commitment and dedication is needed. But once you have made these elements into a habit, you and your team will enjoy in the spoils.