Running Things as Projects

Written by lewsauder

May 21, 2014



I’ve been a project manager for so many years that it’s part of everything I do. In the morning, I get my coat on and grab my bag while the Keurig is running.  I just don’t want to waste that minute standing and watching coffee brew when I can be doing tasks in parallel.

My wife laughed at me when I used a Microsoft Project plan for our move to a new house a few years ago.

So a while back, when I was at an annual planning session for the company I worked for, the group of managers and executives came up with several initiatives they wanted to accomplish over the next year. To me, it was obvious that this should be run as a project.  Perhaps it could be split into a few projects and run as a program, but however you divided it up, it should be managed as a project.

So I raised my hand in front of the entire group and suggested to our company’s president that it be run as a project. I was hoping that I could manage that project or at least have some involvement.  I was a little surprised when the president responded with a terse “No thanks, I think I’ll take care of it.”

Related post: How to Manage Expectations on Yellow and Red Projects

I’ve seen people run things outside of the project approach.  They tend to trudge along, meet weekly to discuss status, and never seem to make progress.

The approach I would have taken would be to create a team, even if they were dedicated part time.  Then I’d define the tasks and sub-tasks, assign them to the team members and work with them to establish estimates for completion.  As most of you project managers know, that’s the planning phase.  You then go through various other phases, depending on the methodology you follow.  You’ll execute, monitor and eventually close the project.

For more information, check out Project Management Planning Considerations.

The Project Management Institute defines a project as a temporary group activity designed to produce a unique product, service or result. That’s a great definition because it stresses the fact that it’s temporary, it comes to an end when you finish all of the tasks; it is a group activity and it has an end result, you know when you’re done.

I’ve been reading Tom Peters since he wrote “In Search of Excellence” in the early 1980s.  One of the main reasons is that he is such a proponent of doing things as projects.

It’s a great way to give people a sense of urgency. It creates a measurable way to determine where you are based on plan.  And it is a great way to know when you’re finally done.

It’s just a good way of getting things done.

If you would like to learn more about a career in Project Management, get Lew’s book Project Management 101: 101 Tips for Success in Project Management on Amazon.

Please feel free to provide feedback in the comments section below.

Copyright 2014 Lew Sauder, Inc.

Lew’s Books at Amazon:

Project Management 101
Consulting 101
The Reluctant Mentor

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