There are some jobs where it seems you are never “off duty”. No matter how hard you try not to look for it, something comes up that turns a quiet Sunday afternoon into a “Same crap, different office” situation.
Project Management is one of those jobs – and it seems not a month goes by without me having to use my PM skills in my personal life.
Last year we made our move from the busy London Docklands to leafy Hemel Hempstead and has proved a hit with the family.. nice town, new friends, lots of greenery. The one slight wrinkle is the house we rented last year. It was quite a walk from the station and lots of sharp corners – something not conducive to life with an inquisitive 16 month old!
There was nothing for it…I had to run to the bathroom to change into my Super PM outfit as for the third time in as many years – I had a house move to plan. For all the experience I’ve had moving house recently, it’s still a daunting task… Planning when everything needs to happen, when to get the post re-directed, where the nearest place is to buy milk and who the heck is actually going to move everything from A to B without it getting lost at C,D,E and F.
People everyday move house yet they don’t think about all of the Project Management they are doing be they lawyers, street sweepers or stand-up comedians. They create a project plan, the project scope of what is going to be moved, what is being binned, what Christmas gift from a relative is “accidentally” dropped on the floor?
The hardest Project Management process that needs to be undertaken, but is most often overlooked is “Lessons Learned”. Now if you’ve not moved for 15 years, then firstly well done, and this probably doesn’t apply… but for us, it was really important to analyse what we had done wrong in the last couple of moves and really make sure that this didn’t happen.
As it transpires, there were three big lessons that we learnt:
- Get the professionals in. It might be more expensive but it’s easier than doing it using 1 car and a white van hire
- Do not invite the mother-in-law to help look after our child unless you would like World War 3 to start
- Just because something went in, it doesn’t always mean that it will also come back out (at least not without a hell of a fight!)
They say that the definition of madness is doing the same things over and over expecting to get a different outcome, so next time you move (or try your hand at a little DIY Project Management) – try and learn from your mistakes…. It makes the process much less painful.