Imagine gaining a life long skill from an early age that helps you do many things in life better. From organising your homework timetable; hosting a dinner party for 20; planning your wedding day or even decorating your bedroom – wouldn’t it be great if you were able to almost automatically know the best way to get these done without lots of stress and arguments?
That’s what project management means to me – it’s a life skill that once you “get it”, it never leaves you.
Once you’ve had your eyes opened to some simple techniques that help you think about things a little more logically – planning and managing yourself (and others around you) becomes just that little bit easier. When you’re presented with a problem or want to push to do something new and challenging – rather than thinking you have no idea where to start, project management will bring order to the chaos.
So what simple techniques mean the most to me? Forget about the complex approaches in project management – the earned values and governance structures of a project management world where accreditation and methodologies are king. What really matters is the ability to think through a problem or challenge – what needs to happen to get to the solution? Basic project management is about understanding what is required to get to the solution; what path (or workflow) can I take; what tasks need to happen and who will do those tasks. It’s also about thinking of the potential things that might happen along the way that might derail your efforts – we think about the potential issues and risks of what we’re trying to achieve in advance – hence the less stress and arguments! Basic project management is about thinking of those two words – project and management. Recognising that a project is about something you’re going to do new or differently – when you recognise that the dinner party for 20 is just that little bit more ambitious than one for 10 you know you have a project on your hands. Once it becomes a project you automatically instigate the techniques to help you manage your new project.
So project management to me is a life skill – the only difference between “project managers” and everyone else in the world is that project managers have taken the step from informal project management to formal project management (training, accreditations, project management for a wage)
I hope in my lifetime we’ll see project management as a life skill develop and certainly something that every child has access to. Imagine our knowledge economy world in 10 years time if every child is taught how to use these simple techniques; something they’ll be able to practice throughout their school and university years. When they enter the job market after twenty years they’ll have a great skill set that enables them to make things happen in the workplace and any other challenges they face in their lives.
P.S. This post is published as part of a first ever project management related global blogging initiative to publish a post on a common theme at exactly the same time. Seventy four (74!) bloggers from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UK and the USA have committed to make a blogging contribution and the fruit of their labour is now (literally NOW) available all over the web. The complete list of all participating blogs is found here so please go and check them out!