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.
Living The Agile Life
For the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing some tips inspired by the “Agile” approach to projects. Agile is an alternative approach to delivering projects that are focused on delivering project value more quickly and more frequently with a much smaller project management process footprint. Agile is growing in popularity and includes many techniques that can help us achieve our personal goal projects.
Marathons & Sprints
Let’s picture a track meet. Lots of healthy runners competing in different events. Most of these events fall into one of two categories: distance runs or sprints.
A distance run, like a marathon, requires the runner to maintain a steady pace over a long distance for a long time. These runners know where they are going and don’t stop until they get to the finish line. They require a solid plan and persistence until the goal is achieved.
The sprinter runs for a much shorter distance for minutes or even seconds. A sprinter focuses on achieving top speed for a short time until reaching the finish line and works to eliminate anything that might slow them down because milliseconds matter.
These same concepts also apply to different varieties of projects.
More traditional, or “waterfall,” projects are like the distance run. They start by defining the ultimate goal. Then the goal is broken into all of the individual phases and activities required to achieve the goal. The ultimate project deliverable, or value, isn’t achieved until the end.
Sprints are a more iterative alternative approach to projects.
Sprint projects still start with the definition of the ultimate goal, at least at a high level. Then the project is delivered in a series of incremental segments, or sprints, each lasting for a week or two. Instead of investing in a big, up-front planning effort, a sprint-based project focuses on immediately delivering value in the next sprint. Then the process continues until the project has delivered enough value to conclude.
We live our lives in sprints. We know what we want to achieve and we make progress a day/week/month/year at a time. We don’t know all the twists and turns, the work needed or the decisions we are going to need to make in the beginning. This is why this approach can be very helpful in our personal goal projects.
Set your goal, get started and just focus on the next week. What can you accomplish in the next seven days that will move you a little closer to your goal. Then do the work and see where you are in a week. Repeat the process until you are done.
The sprint approach to our projects can help prevent us from getting overwhelmed at the beginning – which often leads to never getting started. It can help us accommodate and adjust to the unknowns. Plus it will be a big motivator, the goal of every sprint is to deliver value, so this approach inherently has “quick wins” built right in.
Are you ready to be a PM Believer?
Life is inherently cyclical and you can use this to your advantage. If you pursue your goal through a series of sprints you can easily measure progress, embrace uncertainty and quickly adjust when needed. What can you accomplish this week?
How have you applied project management for your personal success? Tell me about it at OperationMelt.com and make sure to join my email list to have updates delivered to your inbox weekly.
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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.