simonanicotraThank you for being in my life even if my life took me miles and miles away from you, I can still feel you next to me. Thank you for always lifting me up when I’m down even if you have to do it through video calls and weak internet connection. Thank you for being…
Part 1: Project Life Management 101 (PLM101) – Project (Life) Scope Management
I have been meaning to get around to trying something a little more intelligent in terms of my posts. Most of my posts generally do not have much structure to them. I tend to do them mostly on the fly. Well this is one that I have decided to try and take a bit more time to help you and others out there with dealing with Project Life Management.
Welcome to Life Management 101 (Written by someone who is also figuring out how to do this). This is going to be written from a project management stand point and take on some of the things that I learned while studying project management (Project Management Book of Knowledge will be referenced and remixed…. a lot).
The main areas that I will cover in this miniseries will be (life) scope management, (life) time management, (life) cost management, (life) quality management, (life) human resources management, (life) communication management, (life) risk management and (life) stakeholder management.
Most of these topics sound the same, but they are not. Most of them are linked and in order to stop you from falling asleep to my dribble I will try and group them in a manner that is easily understandable.
Project (Life) Scope Management
Scope management is very important concept. It is something that needs to be closely monitored in our working lives. It is important because we need to give ourselves physical and non physical boundaries and live within the boundaries that we give ourselves. Of course life is quite malleable and is prone to change. There are people who studied English literature at university who are now working for NGOs in French speaking African countries, others studied law and are now farmers, while others still studied for the experience of going to university and making friends.
Now a quick side note, those who applied and went to university just for the “experience” are not serious. That’s a waste of money.
Anyway, the reasons why people are working where they are working after studying what they studied are many. Reasons, which I don’t have the energy or the time to try and explain.
The reason why (life) scope management is important is because it helps reduce (life) scope creep. (Life) Scope creep is when you find yourself doing something that wasn’t in your scope.
Plan: Go to the supermarket, buy some groceries, pay rent and then head home.
What happens: Go to friend’s house; have a few beers watching football, wake up in another town.
Now the above example sounds farfetched but stranger things have happened to people on their way to the supermarket. The above example is probably very much on the micro scale of life. That is just a day to day event that could have occurred. Imagine on the larger scale some of the things we end up doing that were NOT in our plan. Now according to the PMBOK 5th Edition, there are 11 tools and techniques to help us avoid scope creep. I am only going to mention a few of them and some life explainations.
- Benchmarking – you have to have an idea of what your plan is, what you want to achieve and what you feel is acceptable. Even if it’s a little vague, you have to have some sort of plan. (I plan on being the funniest drunk guy in the local bar… all the time, I plan on reading every book in the local library, I plan on memorising all of the 10 hit kombos for Scorpion in Mortal Kombat on the PS3 that I find on YouTube)
- Observations – In life sometimes all we need to do is stop and watch what is going on around us. It’s not complicated. Just stop and observe for a minute. You may want to be the funniest drunk guy in the local bar all the time, but that may stop you from also memorising all of the 10 hit kombos for Scorpion in Mortal Kombat on the PS3 that you find on YouTube. You can’t do everything.
- Questionnaires and Surveys – Now none of us have time to design, distribute, collect and collate questionnaires and surveys unless it is for school. In the real world that stuff is done by robots. Funnily we design, distribute, collect and collate questionnaires and surveys every day. We just don’t realise it. Every time we ask for someone’s opinion, it could be seen as a survey. We just need to be sure to ask a wide range of people for their opinions. It’s free and you don’t have to take the advice/opinions given!
- Group decision making techniques – This is easy. Remember the last failed trip to the casino you didn’t go on with your boy? Remember the failed braai (BBQ) that you planned at the local bar? Well maybe it was because of the lack of group decision making. Scope creep can be controlled if the group has the same vision. If the vision is not the same you will never organise the braai at the local bar.
The macro aspects of (life) scope management are a little more difficult to manage because some of them require certain things to happen in order for the next even to become available (life is sometimes like a video game. You need to unlock shit to get to the next stage). A simple example is: If your crush only wants a dude who can take care of her and buy her expensive fake nails and a semi permanent pen to colour in her lack of eyebrows, but you didn’t try harder at school so you got a shit job. Well you may need to get your ass into some sort of college or lower your benchmark.
Remember than life is not about limiting yourself. As much as you need to control your own life scope, you need to believe that anything is possible. I mean the American’s made us believe that they made it to the moon and then stuck a flag that started waving in the lunar wind. A lot of people believe they made it there but no one asks why they haven’t been back since. If you believe that you can memorise all of the 10 hit kombos for Scorpion in Mortal Kombat on the PS3 that you find on YouTube, do that. Don’t then try and learn Sub-Zero’s 10 hit kombos at the same time. Keep that life scope managed.
Last month two major reports came out on economic and political reform in Zimbabwe. The first from Chatham House, looking at economic reform and the question of re-engagement by international actors, and the second, from the Institute for Security Studies, looking at similar themes, but focusing more on the political challenges. They come to rather […]
I have done a lot of research (replace a lot of with a little) by doing interviews of engineers without informing them that I am interviewing them, and I have come to the conclusion that some engineers (especially those that work in the construction industry, as they are the one who I mainly work with) suffer from the engineer complex.
Now the engineer complex is very hard to explain so I have tried to break down some of the behaviours that us of smaller brain power can understand. You see it seems that engineers are far too clever for us mere mortals to keep up with. They have to sometimes speak a version of english known only to non engineers that they have a basic understanding of. This in turn aids them in keep us mere mortals from all sorts of demises. These include mixing dangerous chemicals that have the potential of killing everyone with in a two square meter radius, to making a concrete design that can’t hold the force exerted by the Titanic, to making proper use of Microsoft Project.
All in all they tend to be pleasant people all round. In fact as much as they do not want to admit it some of them exhibit traits of humanness. I have worked with engineers who are best friends with alcohol, others who feel they need more than one woman in their lives (their wife plus one), and others who are so chill that you don’t know if the emotion known as anger has EVERY come to visit them.
I would like to warn any engineers that read this who I have worked with or work with currently that I am going to say something that you may not like… and I don’t really care. So in a sense there are spoilers…..
- They like to say who is an engineer and who isn’t: It not like engineers are the only professionals on this planet. So what if Lukaku is an engineer or studied engineering. The dude is now a footballer. He gets paid to score goals. I do get the feeling that sometimes they are trying to look down on me because I was too dumb to keep up with ridiculous equations that will be solved for you using a computer.
- They like to show that they know what they are talking about: Ok so this is a work place and we are all adults. So unless its mathematical, opinions are like assholes. We all have one. I don’t try and prove you wrong if you say that Chelsea would win the World Cup if they played in it. That’s your opinion. Maybe wrong for a few reasons, such as why would a club team be playing against nations, and who will play if there are some guys that play for their nations and also Chelsea. However that is a conversation for another time (replace another time with never).
- “That time in college when you and some other engineer showed your lecturer he was wrong”: That’s nice. It is good to hold onto the small victories hey. It helps you to keep a focus and motivated to achieve the other things in life you want to achieve. But damn, its like that guy who wants to tell you about the number of beers he drank while hanging from a tree upside down with one hand while catching multiple boomarangs in his mouth….
- Do you know what project crushing is? I can show you: Maybe it is the engineers who are kinda fresh out of uni/college. They sometimes think that it is their job to teach everyone a little bit of engineering. I think thats actually quite commendable.
We should learn some more about the built environment especially if you work in it. I sometimes wonder if some engineers think that everyone else who is working in the built environment was created out of moon dust when the project started and as such do not know a single bit of engineering? Engineering covers a lot of subjects. There is engineering in project management. It’s not the kind of engineering that some engineers consider to be engineering.
So to all my engineers out there (except for the chemical engineers and the electrical engineers coz I haven’t worked with any of you guys and have a very basic understand what the two do), keep engineering, stop being annoying. Your faculty wasn’t the only faculty at university/college. So what if you had the best soccer team. That was then. let’s do the here and now and see how that goes. There may not be any equations for you to solve, but I am sure I can find ways to keep your overactive brains from gathering dust and forgeting how to engineer the shit outta… shit.