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.
Science vs. Art
As I mentioned in my Executive Status Briefing (see You Are Here), project management is both a science and an art. Beyond the formal tools and processes, there are other habits and techniques that project managers use to achieve success. Today’s post explores one of these aspects of the art of project management.
Write Here, Write Now
What did we decide in that conversation a week ago?
What are the problems we still need to solve?
What did I identify as the risks that might slow us down?
What happened last month that I needed to include in my retrospective?
Project managers are bombarded with a ton of information. One of their hardest jobs is to keep all of this information straight and to ensure nothing is forgotten. There is nothing more embarrassing for a project team than getting to the finish line only to realize that you forgot an important project task or deliverable.
Some project managers make the mistake of trying to keep all this information organized inside their brains, this doesn’t work.
- It is just too much information to trust to memory. You are going to forget something or get something out of order.
- Keeping this information in the project manager’s head makes him or her into a bottleneck and single point of failure for the project. Since nobody else knows the information, all roads go through the project manager.
- Most impactful of all is mental saturation. Unnecessarily keeping all of this information just in your brain limits your ability to focus on and process new things. You consume too much of your capacity trying to be a notebook.
Successful project managers write everything down.
- They use a good calendar so no appointments, commitments or other time-bound items fall through the cracks.
- They produce and distribute documented meeting recaps so everybody remembers what is decided.
- They keep logs of issues, risks, changes and decisions.
- They take diligent notes and memorialize everything possible on paper (that usually means electronically) and usually in a shared location.
As you are pursuing your most important life goals and your personal projects, write down everything you can. This starts with writing down your goals which makes you one-third more likely to succeed with them.
Keeping track of your tasks, notes, ideas, plans, questions and all of the other stuff in a notebook (physical or electronic) gets these items out of your brain and makes you far less likely to forget them. Just make sure that whatever system you are using for capturing this stuff is one that you trust, otherwise, you will try to keep it in both places.
Finally, the masterclass level writing is journaling. By spending a few minutes each day writing in a journal, you drain your brain of the “noise.” This lets you focus on critical thinking. The practice of journaling also helps you process and make sense of the events in your life and maybe even connect some dots you would have otherwise missed.
What things are you trying to hold in your brain right now that you could put on paper to free your mind for more important activities?
Are you ready to be a PM Believer?
Project management is a combination of art and science. Part of the art of project management is to make sure that you are keeping track of the constant stream of information you receive during a project. But beware of the pitfalls of trying to do this just with your brain.
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.
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.