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The applicability of project management

I want to talk about how widely applicable I think project management is. I am a big believer in the power of project management. I know its limitations, but those limitations are reducing. Ours is not a static discipline.

New approaches and enhancements come about all the time. Think about approaches like Critical Chain and Agile which have developed over the last couple of decades, or the increasing integration of project and change management. These innovations and enhancements will continue. Yes, project management is not perfect, but with continuous improvement it gets better and better.

As a business project manager I work in a variety of situations and environments, and these require the use of different project management practices suitable for that specific situation and environment. But I also think project management has applications in our everyday lives.

We all have dreams and aspirations we want to achieve in our personal lives. Project management can help. I am not seriously suggesting that in your personal ambitions you write issues and risk logs, have fully defined work breakdown structures or use Gantt charts. But then for me, these tools of project management are not the most important parts – the most important parts are the underlying principles, that we as project managers often take for granted, and yet are really critical.

What am I talking about? I mean things like not starting until you understand the outcomes you want to achieve and the scope you want to achieve it in. I mean breaking a big task down into smaller understandable and achievable tasks. I mean making sure you are making progress, whilst not forgetting it is outcomes that matter not just being busy. I also mean preparing for and expecting problems and not stopping progress just because something unplanned has occurred. There are more basic principles – I’m sure you know the things I mean.

This is why I wrote my latest book, Dream It, Do It, Live It. It takes project management principles and applies them to everyday life and achieving your dreams. The truth is that these principles which seem so obvious to some, are really not so obvious to everyone else. Whenever you apply some new or powerful project management practice, it will still be reflecting these basic principles.

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