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PM Believer: Burning Down Your Goal

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

This week I am continuing my focus on tips inspired by the “Agile” approach to project delivery. As I previously described, 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.

Burning Down Your Goal

A fixture of Agile projects is the burndown chart, a visual tool that is used to evaluate the progress of the work within a sprint compared to a plan.

These charts compare the timeline of a sprint (horizontal axis) with the remaining work (vertical axis) in a line graph. The chart includes a line depicting planned progress and one depicting actual progress line updated daily. The goal is to see a steady decrease, or burndown, of work remaining each day and to be able to accurately predict the actual output of the sprint versus the plan.

Burndown charts are important because our brains love pictures. Pictures pre-dated written words by centuries in the form of cave paintings. We are physiologically wired to process images quickly and to retain that data faster than written words.

When it comes to your personal goal projects, burndown charts can be a valuable tool to help achieve your goal. No matter the goal, as long as you have made it measurable (see Get SMART), you can track progress with a burndown chart.

You already know the timeframe for your goal and you know where you are today. These two points let you create your horizontal and vertical axis.

Add your planned progress line. By mapping out your path from where you are to where you are going, you will know what progress that you have to make every day. This will also help your goal will seem even more real.

Track your actual burndown every day. This helps you see if you are ahead of your plan or running behind. Comparing these lines is an amazing status report! This is why burndown charts work as great motivation and accountability tools because nobody wants to be behind the plan line.

You may also need to add a third line, your adjusted plan. When it becomes clear that you are going to achieve your goal early, add another line with your new projected burndown. This means you could hit the bottom sooner or that you are going to increase the amount of progress that you want to make in this sprint. The same concept applies when it becomes clear that you will not be able to achieve your goal in this sprint.

Are you ready to be a PM Believer?

What is the least amount of work you can do to achieve your goal? Once you know what your minimum viable product is, you can focus on that first and begin to see results. This will help you build both the knowledge and the momentum needed to build on these successes to achieve your ultimate goal.

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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