Do You Project Manage Your Life? The worst people to manage are project managers. You need a system to manage your own projects. Andrew Meyer recently commented on Project Manager Interview Questions. I started to reply but realized that this would make a great post. Andrew’s comment is about what questions to ask candidates when interviewing for a position in project management. Actually, my favorite question involves two parts. I love to find out about a major event in someone’s personal life, such as getting married. I also want to know if they have a project schedule, project plan, etc. Is there a project schedule and plan they put together for their wedding? I have never heard anyone say they created a project plan for their trip, wedding, or house sale. The question that follows is “Why?” Isn’t it just like a project, with multiple parties involved that need to know what’s happening and multiple deadlines? Why not use project management at work? This is a question I would love to know the answers to. Interesting question Andrew. I don’t think I care that much if they use these things within their personal lives. I find it a bit uncomfortable to ask questions about their personal lives. I care about their behavior at work. I get what you mean. What about questions about how they organize themselves and stay on task at work? How do they make sure they get things done? I have, for example, set up some systems that are kind of like scaled-down versions to some project management processes. Do they meet my definition of “project”? ?No. ?No. Let’s discuss mini-project task management. Manage your Inbox like a Mini-Project

  • Initiation: Hmmm…perhaps the act putting this system into place is the “initiation”.
  • Planning:?Scheduled blocks for email address. Additional time is reserved for this purpose when I’m not in the office.
  • Executing: I work on each one right away and, if necessary, create a new task.
  • Monitoring and Controlling:?Smack me around if I get distracted. I can figure out why it took me so long to get through my email. ?It was usually because I was distracted and didn’t know it. ?Then I kicked myself. ? (bruise = Lessons Learned File)
  • Closing:?When you’re done, your email box will always contain 0 unread mails. That’s my “deliverable”? and how I know when I’m done.

Manage Small Activities as They Arise. I have a folder called “activities” on my hard drive that contains “active”, “completed”, “cancelled”, and “cancelled”. The image to the right shows an example.

  • Initiation: I do not change the date. This is my working directory for all files and notes. The activity. ?By creating the folder, I have “authorized” myself to work on this mini project.
  • Planning:?My “active folder” serves as a way to plan my day. I use the information in the folders as a guide to estimate the time I will need to complete specific activities. Depending on the activity, I may sometimes draw a WBS to make sure I accomplish the objective(s).
  • Executing: If I’m going to talk to people to make it happen, I leave it up. I record conversations and save files as necessary. Everything is in one place