I need a plan . . .

Recently at work I spent what might be turn out to be 90 of the most valuable minutes I’ve ever spent thinking about project planning.

As a big picture, high intuition, high extravert preference, experiential learner person (I know, we’re a nightmare for the sensing, thinker, aren’t we?), planning and detail aren’t my default position or my go-to place every time I’m tasked with doing something new.  But in truth, I know it makes sense to have a good plan in place for … well, practically anything.

So with a most wonderful colleague who I admire tremendously – because she knows her stuff around project planning! – we used our 90 minutes well to talk about the value of a PID (project initiation document).  The more we talked, the more I grew to love it … and I was soon immersed in the world of scoping, milestones, assumptions, exclusions and transition.  Ooh, I felt like a project pro.

And then my mind raced to the benefit of good project planning for leaders … but more than that, the challenges for leaders in delivering a project, in bringing it all together, in managing and leading people involved in it.  It struck me that if the project represents the whats, the leader must deliver the hows – and that this isn’t always easy.  So in true project style, I tried to think about the factors around leadership that are make or break for the success of a plan, a project, an outcome, a deliverable.  And what eventually put that into perspective was a wonderful phrase my lovely colleague used.  She spoke about good project planning being able to “get rid of the noise” and she represented this with a simple diagram that is now firmly etched in my memory:

 

 

 

You can probably work it out, but just to be clear, T = time, C = cost and Q = quality.  The tripartite, it seems, of all excellent project planning.

 

For leadership, getting rid of the noise felt like:

  • showing empathy
  • supporting someone through a change or a difficulty
  • listening to opinions
  • making decisions
  • having their back

and I’m still reflecting on the implications of project planning for leaders … but wow, this was such an excellent start.

At the risk of becoming too task-focused or robotic, I’m actually now wondering … is there any aspect of my life I can’t apply it to?  To the wonderful, natural, talented project planners the world over, this won’t come as any surprise.  To me?  It’s come as a bit of a revelation … and my mind’s buzzing.  I think I might need a PID to capture where I want to go with this.

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