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 Project Management
Do you remember learning about the scientific method in school?
Since the seventeenth century, the scientific method has been how scientific knowledge is built and validated. This method is based on an ongoing cycle used to determine and validate conclusions:
- Ask a question
- Do some basic research to understand the existing facts
- Form a hypothesis for the answer to the question
- Test the hypothesis with an experiment
- Analyze the results and data from the experiment
- Report conclusions
This cycle repeats over and over again until the final results are achieved.
The most effective project managers have learned to apply the scientific method to their projects. The project management scientific method follows the same basic structure but for project plans and work.
- Set a goal (charter)
- Conduct initial planning with the project team
- Publish a baseline project plan
- Execute the project following the baseline plan
- Measure progress and evaluate new data, details, information
- Adjust the project plan and/or charter as needed
By following the scientific method, a project manager can quickly create an initial “good enough” plan that reflects all of the currently known information. Then this initial plan is captured as a “baseline” or an initial snapshot. Then, as the project elaborates and more information is learned, the project manager can continually adjust the plan to reflect the new information discovered along the way.
Does that mean you will be publishing an inaccurate plan? Yes! All project plans are built based on the best available knowledge at a point in time. This means that most project plans turn out to be wrong. The trick is to embrace that from the beginning.
Project managers often believe that a project plan can’t be changed. They follow steps one through four, but they stop there. Once a plan is published, failure to deliver as planned is a failure of the project manager. This means that the project planning cycle is elongated, and the team delays actually starting the work.
Once a project manager embraces a scientific method approach to project planning, the overall stress level of the project team goes down. Perfection is not expected or necessary during project planning. The goal is simply to get to a plan reflecting the current knowledge to get the work going. If (or when) new information comes up that disproves the hypothesis (initial plan), adjustments can be made, a new baseline set and the cycle can continue.
Whether managing a project in a business setting or for your personal goal, embrace the scientific method and consider your plan to be your best hypothesis at the moment. Then get moving with your experiment (the work of your project) as quickly as possible and try to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Then, adjust and repeat.
Are you ready to be a PM Believer?
What can the scientific method teach us about project management? Hint: your project plan is a hypothesis. If you embrace a few scientific principles, your projects can move faster and create a little less stress.
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.