Archives For Project Management

Milestones

September 28, 2010

In project management a milestone is “an end of a stage that marks the completion of a work package or phase typically marked by a high level event such as completion endorsement or signing of a deliverable, document or a high level review meeting.”  The larger and more complex a project is, I make every attempt to celebrate with the team all major milestones. The celebration could be as simple as a thank-you card or gift certificate.  Huge accomplishments always call for big celebrations.

When projects involve a culture change, the milestone may need to be followed by a period of mourning (death of the old way) with the celebration (birth of the new way).

Hardest part for me is that I tend to manage multiple projects at the same time. If I don’t slow down to revel in the moment, I’ll keep pushing myself on the next project. After a few months of that, the ‘what about me?’ becomes my forethought. Taking time to celebrate not only work milestones, but life’s milestones is important for a sense of well-being and maintaining a productive life.

Everyone’s life has major milestones that need to mourned or celebrated. We all celebrate the birth of a child, marriage and buying of the first house. But learn to enjoy major promotions, acceptance into a college or university, celebrate the end of a career as you transition into the new career or learning a new skill.  Don’t allow the speed of life to rob you of your moment!

How do you celebrate milestones in your life?

How to Plan Using Backwards Goal Setting

May 3, 2010

In project management, we plan from the desired end state.  I have found this technique helpful when it comes to planning for the goals I’ve set for my life.  Project management provides processes and structure to achieve that end state.

For example, last year I set a goal to climb Mt. Rainer this year.  I read lots of books and created a plan. This plan included a training plan, gear purchase, picking a date for the climb and making travel arrangements.  At the end of every quarter I re-evaluate my progress towards. As with my Mt. Rainier goal, it has now become a Mt. St. Helens goal. Unplanned travel for work during January and February put me too far behind to climb Mt. Rainier by the end of summer.  I either had to move the date out and change the goal.  Climbing Mt. Rainier in October seemed too dangerous for a novice climber.  Mt. St. Helens in August was the wiser choice.

  1. Set Goal
  2. Deconstruct the goal – that is list everything that needs to be done in order to reach that goal. These becomes milestones or mini-goals that you can now start working towards
  3. Order those steps in sequence.  Some may be done in parallel.  In my example, it doesn’t matter when I buy my gear to climb Mt. St. Helens.
  4. Add dates to those steps
  5. Execute
  6. Celebrate at every milestone.  You are making progress.  Even if the goal needs to be adjusted, the feeling of accomplishment will be there.

4th quarter of every year, I begin setting goals for every area of my life.  After each area has at least one goal, I then complete the above exercise.  By year’s end I have plan for the following year.  By New Year’s Day I’m ready to begin execution.

How do you create a plan to achieve your goals?