The Parallels between Life and Project Management- Explore the Resemblance

Discover the need for applying values and principles of life to project management; be informed that the vice versa is also true! Understand the core focus of project management towards achieving goals via the inputs of inner thoughts / opinions gained through life’s experiences.

It is not enough for project managers to merely possess the right skills, knowledge, ideas, and technological know-how. There’s a lot more that goes into the making of successful projects. Have you ever thought of project management as a process of applying your life’s beliefs and principles for meeting the requirements on hand? For instance, successful managers are also expected to visualize their projects dexterously and in time; just as they would handle some core issue in their personal lives.

Let’s find out what else is needed for drawing the parallels between life and project management.

Discard the Idea of Having Perfect Plans – be Flexible!

@Life: When you wake up in the morning, you do plan your day. However, across the day, you may need to tweak your plans, or apply more flexible ways of getting things done to achieve your goals.

@ Work: In project management too, plans are extremely efficient until they are initiated practically. But then, implementing the plans with perfect timings (or with smooth executions) may not be a possibility at all times. Managers should have the ability of foreseeing future issues and planning things in accordance to the problems that occur, as and when required.

Verdict: Yes, even the best of plans have to combat adverse situations or uneven points in a roadmap. You just need to relax with the knowledge that you are equipped to handle unprecedented troubling issues. 

Keep Working with the Sense of Emergency

@Life: In your personal life, there are many instances like your child’s education, special occasions, and small crises at home, etc. where you have to mange things / take decisions on the double.

@Work: As a project manager too, you will find yourself face-to-face with many agonizing or stressful situations that will sway your work processes the other way, or make you take decisions in a hurry. Overall, you have to remain calm and work with a sense of urgency to see your projects through.

Verdict: Projects and life events are built up with a set time frame, budget and resources. So, it is essential that they are dealt with a sense of urgency.

Focus on Training and Inspiring 

@Life: While teaching your children, don’t be the ‘hated class teacher’ whom they will want to avoid. Instead, be the caring parent cum teacher and see the difference in your child’s knowledge development. 

@ Work: Being “one of them” instead of “above them all” is important! In other words, coach and train your people rather than telling them merely about the do’s and don’ts. Just serve to be their inspiration instead of acting as their “big boss” at all times. 

Verdict: Acknowledging the efforts of your team is the best driver of motivation. Show your team the path to follow; be their organizer. 

Envisage and Communicate

@Life: Consider a situation in your life. Your parents want you to be a doctor but you want to explore your talent in the field of art and crafts. Here, you need to explain your necessities towards fulfilling your passion and make sure that they understand what you want them to know.

@Work: Visualize and inculcate unforeseen issues into the minds of your team. Try to avoid fuzzy descriptions and be specific (with concrete diagrammatic explanations and interpretations)  so that everyone in the team agrees with you. 

Verdict: Communication helps. It paves the path for serious engagements and makes any situation more manageable and profitable. 

Be the Hero! 

@Life: A relationship of love and trust in your personal life is also dependent upon your abilities to forget about ego and be the first to discuss issues. This assures the birth of long lasting commitments from one and all.

@ Work: For successful project management, preliminarily, you need to be liked by your team. Leave your ego and try to understand what your team desires from you. In other words, be the hero your team craves for.

Verdict: Give attention to others to gain positive outcomes. Everlasting relationships are all based upon the understanding of one person with the other. So, stop being self-centered and become the one who inspires your team to perform better. 

Realize your Faults

@ Life: If you know that you are in the wrong, then trying to change the way others take note of things, or think, will not earn you the their respect. So, act according to the demands of any life situation and take timely steps to make amends. 

@Work: As a responsible project manager, you should garner the guts to own up if you happen to make a mistake. Never pass the buck around, or make your team members feel as if they have been made responsible for the errors committed by you.

Verdict: It is very important in life and project handling that you recognize your faults and make amendments accordingly; and as soon as possible. At times, when you feel the necessity of expressing regret, even if you are right, do it then and there itself.

Up Ahead!

Planning every step of your life, or your projects, is no different at all….. The fact is whatever be the event, be it about your life or an ongoing project, you need to set your core principles yourselves. Understand the parallels between life and project management and success is bound to come to you!

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Uma Daga