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PM Believer: How To Eat An Elephant Part 1

I am a believer in the power of project management.

As a professional project manager for nearly twenty years I have witnessed project success drive business results. I have also proven that project management can change lives and help achieve personal transformation. Now I am sharing some practical tips and techniques that you can use to help achieve your own personal goals, live your best life and become a PM Believer.

How To Eat An Elephant Part 1

This week we will continue our discussion about building a plan to get you to the finish line of your personal goal. It is time to fill in the missing pieces inside your boundaries with an important project management quote from Desmond Tutu.

“There is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time.”

This quote summarizes one of the most important tools in project management, the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS is a tool to decompose your big project goal into individual deliverables, then into logical chunks of work (work packages) and then into individual tasks.

The WBS is the key tool in the project planning process and your project can leverage it to translate your big goal into bite-sized steps.

Start by reviewing your SMART goal; what things will have to be true if your goal is complete? These are your deliverables.

If your goal is to be debt-free within two years, your main deliverables might include:

  • Increase the amount of money available to make debt payments
  • Make extra monthly payments until debts are paid off

Those deliverables aren’t very actionable, so they need to be broken down further. How would you increase the amount of money you have available for debt payments? Some of your work packages or sub-components would include:

  • Increase monthly income
  • Decrease spending

We are getting closer, but these still aren’t things you can check off of your to-do list very easily. So let’s break them down further. Decreasing your spending presents you with several possible options you can consider while honoring your boundaries.

  • Eliminate daily “designer” coffee
  • Pack your lunch daily instead of going out
  • Get a roommate

Continue to break these into increasingly manageable tasks or to-do items.

Building your work breakdown structure is as simple as that. Start broad and keep diving deeper until you have tasks that you can feasibly accomplish within a week or two.

Don’t spend a ton of time over-thinking this in the beginning. You don’t have to have every single task figured out, just get to a good starting point. Then continue to plan as your project progresses.

Are you ready to be a PM Believer?

Ready to get started with the plan to accomplish your goal, but aren’t sure how to get there? Don’t be overwhelmed by your big goal. Break big goals into smaller goals and then into bite-size tasks that you can check off your list

How have you applied project management for your personal success? Tell me about it at and make sure to join my email list to have updates delivered to your inbox weekly.

Make sure to help your friends achieve their goals by sharing this post on your social network and by following me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Want to know more about how I changed my life with project management? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Published inPM Believer

Disclaimer: The Operation Melt website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously evolves, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website.

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