Project Life Management Part 1- PLM101

Part 1: Project Life Management 101 (PLM101) – Project (Life) Scope Management

scope

 

 

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.

Manage your life, conceptual words on blackboard.

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.

  1. 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)

    benchmark
    Benchmarking
  2. 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.

    observations
    Observations
  3. 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!

    questionnaires
    Questionannaires
  4. 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.group-decision

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.

 

conclusion
And finally in conclusion

 

 

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.

 

 

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30 Days of Sobriety

Success Kid 13092016092314.jpg
Well, today is my 30th day alcohol-free. Now I have to be a little honest and say that it wasn’t entirely 30 days of no alcohol. I had the flu right at the start of my chosen sobriety and had to take some cough mixture. Not enough to get me drunk, and it wasn’t coz I wanted to get drunk that I was drinking it. But that is another story.

Anyway, 30 days. In a row as well. I am not adding up week days and taking weekends out of the picture. This has been a full-on assault on liver recovery. It has been an interesting experience and I thought that I would share my warped and holier than thou opinions on how this went for me and what I think I have learned. The fact is that along with all human beings having some form of OCD (some mild, others extreme. I have to have my books organised so one side of my very mini library I have all my fiction books and the other side has all my non-fiction books), we also all have problems with addiction.

Of course, the addictions change from person to person, and from continent to continent. The news is awash with stories of strange addictions. They go from the harmless addictions (eating toilet paper) to the simply ludicrous (drinking your own urine).

Regardless it is important for us to look at how we treat our bodies, and maybe try take care of them a little bit better. The last time I stopped drinking for this long was a few years back when I was still at university in the UK. It was Lent and I decided that I was going to stop drinking for forty days and forty nights. It wasn’t THAT hard. All my friends became EXTREMELY annoying when they were drunk. I couldn’t stand the noise in the bars/clubs and I was tired before midnight and wanted to go home. I soldiered on, though. I still went out with the guys, still went and watched football but didn’t drink beer and at the end of it I didn’t learn anything because I think I was still too young.

Some of the Realisations

Well for one thing I have taken the term YOLO to heart. You only live life once. Enjoy it, cherish it and learn as much as you can. I don’t think YOLO means that you should go and be destructive in the maintenance of your body. Sure we are only here once, but rather make it a comfortable stay.

  1. Alcohol needs me more than I need alcohol: This was probably one of the first realisations that I made. Alcohol needs me to spend money on it. I don’t need alcohol in my system. I haven’t woken up with a hangover in the last 30 days, and boy does it feel good. I wake up on weekends full of energy, I am eating better and most of all I am sleeping much better than I have in a long time. Anything to excess is a problem. I didn’t need to get drunk when I used to get drunk. I only did because alcohol needed me to. My dad used to say something to me when I was terrorising him as a teenager: “Alcohol was there when Jesus was here. It is going to be here after you are gone.”. I never fully understood what he actually was talking about but now I understand. It’s not a new phenomenon. It was here before me and it will be here for a time to come. So I don’t need to act like I NEED alcohol.Nick Young 13092016092239.jpg
  2. Peers, Peers and Uncles: So then there are these guys. The friends and uncles. Most of my friends have been very supportive. Some of them have been confused by my decision to stop drinking. I think it’s because I was such a cool guy when I was drunk… or maybe because I used to help fund other people’s habits. I don’t know. I do know that a quick breakdown showed me that 65% of my friends were supportive, 5% didn’t think I was serious, 18% thought I was joking, 6% still don’t believe me and another 6% heaved a sigh of relief. Also my uncle said I wasn’t his nephew anymore coz I had stopped drinking. Interestingly a few of my peers were all for it and very very positive about the trip. My wife joined me a little bit late, but she’s also taking a bit of a liver detox.The Great Gatsby 13092016092145.jpg
  3. Will I ever stop drinking?: That’s not my intention just yet. I don’t think that I will be on it every weekend like I used to. I know that on my birthday, my wife’s birthday, my anniversary with my wife and for most of December (Silly Season) I will most likely have a few to a lot of alcohol beverages. Generally, though I think that I will keep a zero to the bare minimum consumption level of alcohol.
  4. Zimbabwe is very backwards: I keep telling people that Zimbabwe is still in the pre millennium stage. We haven’t hit the year 2000 yet. I say this because we still allow smoking indoors (clubs and even restaurants), companies that sell cigarettes are still allowed to advertise their products and the dangers of alcohol are still not being told to people.savanna-advert-of-their-pacific-brand-behind-bat-at-rothmans-in-harare

 

I think it is also time for us as adults and the ones who are supposed to be the shining example of those who are following us, to be a bit more serious about the things we do to excess. It makes no sense sometimes. We don’t drive around at 200km/hr. We stick to the speed limit because there is a danger of having an accident. Well why do we then want to drink enough for a few people and repeatedly without taking any days of rest? The liver may be a resilient organ that recovers quite quickly from the workouts we put it through. That doesn’t mean that recovery should be its default position. John Jonah Jameson Laughing 13092016094257.jpg

Anything in excess is bad for you. I believe that the sum of our problems cannot and will not be solved by getting drunk regularly. There is no need to get drunk everyday. There is nothing at all that you will be proving. When I was younger life was always a competition. It stops being a competition because the only race you can win is your own race. There is no medal for proving to everyone else that you know that you are a bigger drinker. In fact, it’s more a weight around your neck being known as the village drunk.

Life is too short. YOLO

chill out lemur 13092016113836.jpg

Update: Shout out from The Midlands Massive

So its been a while since I got on here and said a few random things about whats been going on in my life (Not that you care, but it helps me vent random shit into the internets). I may or may not have mentioned but I was preparing for my wedding to my person. That happened. It was awesome. I think I didn’t get a chance to thank a lot of the people who managed to make the day happen. But it was amazing. My wife looked amazing, my groomsmen looked bosses and generally we managed to survive the whole day.

No pictures will be updated until we get the ones from the photographer so don’t complain about wanting to see how it went down. All in good time…

As with all weddings my lovely wife was a little late. She made me wait. I was mad until she arrived and then I decided to relax. After the wedding we had our honeymoon was in the Seychelles. That was pretty awesome. I’m not really a beach person, but my wife managed to get me into the sea a few times and I couldn’t get enough.

Seychelles is an interesting little island. The hotel we stayed in bumped us up from a standard room into a much nicer room. All we did was we showed them our wedding certificate and upgrade was free!!!!

Apart from the room the holiday was awesome. We got outta this country for a few days and got to forget about the stresses of life and just enjoyed hotel living. All in all Seychelles was awesome. Expensive, but awesome. It took us a few days to figure out that the easiest way to ball on a budget was to fill the minibar with all the alcohol we needed and eats as well.

Also coz it was my first time going to a beach resort, I didn’t plan my things properly. I should have gone with a backpack and then I would have been ready for this. But I acclimatized eventually.

The weather was good generally. Well by good I mean that it was humid all the time, and then it was also kinda wet. We managed to do the beach in the morning and most afternoons it was wet. We also did manage to go jet skiing which was the dogs bollocks. Muchos fun!!

Oh by the way we almost missed the flight to the Seychelles coz we were in the airport bar getting drunk…. quite frightening.

After the honeymoon we really didn’t have much time. We essentially moved immediately from the wonderful sunshine city that is the capital to a very small town called Gweru 272km away.

At the moment me and my wife are trying our best to adult. We have done well so far. We have survived about a month. We don’t have any intention of going back to Harare anytime soon. The house is awesome, the air is fresh and it is far away from the maddening crowd.

So if you are ever in Gweru, give us a call. You may or may not answer the phone and we may or may not see you. House warming happening soon. Keep smiling

Tongs

Court Ruling Frightening Zimbabweans

Quotation-Leland-Stanford-alone-value-Meetville-Quotes-177743

Recently the highest court of the land in Zimbabwe made a rather interesting ruling. They said that employers essentially had the same rights as employees. What I refer to is the fact that employees could bring their work contracts to an end by simply giving three months notice. Recently the courts in Zimbabwe decided to make that ruling the same for employers. Obviously there was uproar and some of the statistics that have been bounded about are that up to 1000 people have lost their jobs since the ruling.

Now there are a few issues about this ruling. First of all it is a damn shame that people are losing their jobs. It’s never a nice thing to go through. Unfortunately, it happens all over the world. The labour law that we are using in 2015 is not relevant as it was written in 1985. The economy is on fire, and people are aware of that, yet you expect to not really work at work, and have the protection that the only way that you will get released from your employment is through a dismissal, which in this country and the way the labour courts are, unless you do have mitigating evidence proving misconduct (for example), you ain’t going anywhere.

So this led to a lot of dead wood. People who aren’t adding value to companies yet were drawing a salary. It’s led to a lot of CEOs and directors sitting pretty knowing that they were at the company until retirement. As long as they kept their noses clean, they wouldn’t be dismissed. Can you imagine that shareholders couldn’t fire their CEOs and other top level directors as the ransom would be no dividends because of the packages these guys were on? Worse yet for some of these companies to replace these guys, they would spend shitloads of money on them for some ridiculous package that doesn’t make sense in an economy that’s on fire like Zimbabwe.

So now comes the hope that this ruling is going to be used to trim the civil servants wage bill. This is probably made up of ghost workers, and people long dead who’s salaries are still going to someone. There has to be a rationalisation of business operations for anything to change in this country. This is step one. Releasing people who one couldn’t be released as to happen. We would like to have progression in this country, and unfortunately it is not going to happen with some of the backwards older generation of directors and senior managers. Experience in a critical operational position is important, but progressive thinking is the only way to bring Zimbabwe out of the 1990s to 2015.

I am no economist, but I do realise that if a company is not making enough money to justify keeping employees, they should have the same option that employees have: three months of notice. It is a shitty situation, but then again it IS a shitty situation in the country.

employment

Ashley Madison

Ashley-Madison

So Ashley Madison has been in the news recently. There are a bunch of internet terrorists who hacked the website and said if they don’t shut down the website they would release all of the people who have signed up for the website’s personal information. Ashley Madison is described as (seen above in the picture) an online dating and social networking site marketed for people in relationships and marriages.

Ok hang the fuck on. This site basically helps people cheat on their husbands and wives. There are a couple of issues involved here that I am gonna rant about. Firstly this website ENCOURAGES infidelity by promising to keep your infidelity hidden. Like really? What is more shocking is that from the above banner there are shitloads of people signing up and using the website. What the fuck is going on? Sometimes I do think that the world is burning. As far as I am concerned, if you aint happy in your marriage (for whatever reason), cheating is not gonna make you happy with your partner. Get the fuck outta there if you  aint happy. Why lie to yourself and your person? I am not the voice of reason on this topic and I am merely making my own point of view about it. But what the fuck guys?

These guys operate in 29 countries around the world. Not surprising most/all of the countries are first world countries (with the second world country of South Africa included).

The second this I want to rant about is gonna sound like I support this shit. I don’t. Not one bit. It’s garbage. If you gonna straight up go to a church or do the registry thing and get married, you sign a legal document saying that you are a one man one woman person. If you wanna fuck around don’t get married. But what is worse is that this website shows how lazy the internet has made the human race (As I said I don’t agree with it). Before if people wanted to fuck around they would have to make the bloody effort and leave the house and go and talk to other people and lie that they weren’t married (or omit that part) and not wear their ring and put in bloody time and effort. Now motherfuckers be opening their computer and doing it from the comfort of their office at work on the work computer acting like they working and shit. Again garbage.

I am QUITE glad that the website got hacked. I hope they shut that shit down. I don’t agree with it, its not right and it sure as hell aint OK. I happened upon a few articles that I sped read from people who apparently worked for the website and they spoke about “it was the best place to work”. That’s some straight up PR bullshit. It’s like someone who works for a company that designs missiles or bullets saying “I get job satisfaction at work”. Nope, I call shenanigans. I hope the website goes up in flames. Or the internet terrorists release all the data they have. That would make for some interesting times….

Potholes and Urban Toll Gates

http://www.herald.co.zw/no-going-back-on-urban-tollgates-says-mpofu/

This is the back story for today’s rant. It’s a bit of an old rant but hey, a rant is a rant. So the Government of Zimbabwe has decided that there are going to be urban toll gates around Harare. It seems like that want to further fleece us poor motorists off our hard-earned peanuts. Already we are double taxed on fuel and also when we pay our road tax. Now they want to try and implement a system that will eventually reduce the number of cars and congestion that is in the CBD. It’s a very noble gesture. Less traffic in town will make it more bearable to walk around town, there will be less noise pollution and air pollution as there will be less cars driving around. As I said, all very admirable.

The issue I have is that as much as they are the government and they care not what the inhabitants of their country think, it would be nice if they had a consultation with us about this issue. Even if we, the residents of Harare, flat out refused for urban tolls and they went ahead at least we would feel like they listened to what we had to say.

There are too many flaws with this idea. So I’m going to talk about a brief aside.

This is the congestion zone in London
This is the congestion zone in London

So in London they have what is known as a congestion zone. Essentially it’s certain parts of central London where you have to pay a fee to enter with a car Monday to Friday from 6am to 6pm. On the other hand, if one needs to get to those parts of London and doesn’t want to drive then the next option is public transport which in fact, is in HUGE abundance.

It works because there is another option as a form of transport. Harare has our wonderful commuter omnibuses and our private cars that turn into people carriers. So now the next question becomes will commuter omnibuses and other public transport operators be charged at the toll gates? Where will these toll gates be placed?

Or Kombi for short
Or Kombi for short

With the hard times that have befallen a lot of people in this country, I can almost guarantee that most of us will find a way around the toll gates. In the urban areas of Harare, there is always a way around. It is very different from the toll gates on the highways. Very often there isn’t a road that can take you around a toll gate if you are trying to avoid them. You can’t most of the time. In town, people will find a way around them. I know I will.

War With Vendors Aborted

Well I must say I was a little disappointed when I heard that the government had decided to take a step back from their hurried ultimatum that they had given the vendors who are a blight to site in the CBD of the “sunshine city”. I had all sorts of potential headlines that I thought would have been in the papers today, all the theories that would have also been swirling about. Alas the story seems to have died down. The claim is that they are going to give the vendors more time. I am not sure what the vendors need more time for.

Funnily I read in another newspaper that the places that they wanted to send the vendors to don’t even have toilets there. So it seems like it was a rushed job that the government were trying to do. So for the next few weeks we shall continue on with our city pavements being covered with everything from vegetables, clothes down to chicken intestines apparently.

Again I am not being heartless. Sure they need to do something to survive, and the real question is what has forced them to take up this form of employment in the streets, but they gotta go. I would never take someone from outside of Zimbabwe through the capital city… Not for a few years