The skill of knowing how to manage projects is increasingly useful for businesses and definitely make someone more employable – our project management courses have never been so much in demand, particularly PRINCE2. But project management techniques are not just for work. You can use the practices in your personal life, to become more efficient and to reach your goals.
1. Identify projects
In business, the first step towards project management is to identify past, present and future developments that have as yet not been seen as projects. Once projects are identified, formal goals can be set and project management techniques can be applied.
You can use this in every day life, especially if you realise you keep hoping for a change that never comes. Making a decision to make the desired change happen immediately makes it become more achievable. Things that could be dealt with as projects include writing a book (see below) and planning an event such as a holiday or wedding; but also every day things like huge to-do lists that you keep putting off.
While you are identifying the project, identify the goal. You may sometimes find it's different to what you expect. For example, you may say your goal is to write a novel, but this is not actually the end point for most people - once you start thinking of it as a project you realise your goal is really to get the novel published.
2. Work backwards from a goal
Once you identify a goal, working backwards step-by-step to the point where you are now is a very efficient and controlled way of achieving it.
Using the example of getting your novel published, you identify your goal and approach it as a project:
12 Jul 2012
We are currently four weeks in to the second series of the BBC's Young Apprentice, a spin off of the highly popular The Apprentice. Throughout the 7 series of The Apprentice there has been a lot of discussion within the project management community over whether or not the weekly tasks are 'projects' and whether or not the contestants have the right to call themselves 'project managers'. There is a concern that using project management terminology is bringing project management into disrepute, as week in week out the contestants either make huge mistakes or get through by the skin of their teeth. All this leads to the general public thinking 'well I could do that better.'
Are the Young Apprentices Project Managers?
16 Nov 2011
Silicon Beach Training now offers the increasingly popular range of Agile Project Management training courses – but what is Agile Project Management, and why is it such a big deal all of a sudden?
In March 2011 the government unveiled its new ICT Strategy which identified a number of problems (or challenges using their words!) with the method in which IT projects and programmes were managed and delivered, causing them to fail. The first of these challenges being:
- "projects tend to be too big, leading to greater risk and complexity, and limiting the range of suppliers who can compete"
For example, if a project to implement a large IT system is deemed to take 5 years to complete, it is very likely that, in those five years circumstances (e.g. technology, customer and business requirements, even governments!) will have changed, rendering the final solution based on the original specification unfit for purpose.
A number of strategies were identified to address these challenges, one of which is “by the application of lean and agile methodologies that will reduce waste, be more responsive to changing requirements and reduce the risk of project failure”.
Agile methodologies have been used in software development for some years, but are now being applied in project management as they offer a flexible process that can change according to the customer or organisational needs.
How does Agile Project Management differ from traditional project management methodologies?
Traditionally a project manager may direct the project team using a 'command and control' style, actively directing their team towards the work that must be completed. Agile project management uses a different technique. At the beginning of an Agile project, a high-level plan will be created by the project manager, which is based on basic requirements and a high-level vision of the solution. From there on the final project is created iteratively and incrementally, with each increment building on the previous increments. Agile Project management also differs in the way that team members create the plans for each increment, rather than the project manager themselves.
11 May 2011
Agile principles are now being applied to software development, software testing and project management, but what are the basic principles that Agile is based on?
All Agile methods were designed around a simple premise; the smaller the project, the greater the success rate. For agile to be successful it must be both quick and simple.
In 2001 the Agile Manifesto was born. Representatives from several Agile methodologies (including SCRUM, eXtreme Programming & DSDM) came together and devised a set of values and principles that any Agile methodology should adhere to. These values and principles would increase the success rate as projects would be constantly revised to meet customer requirements.
20 May 2011
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