Monday, 1 June 2009

Delivering a project is like organising a special birthday

In my experience organising and delivering a project to everyones satisfaction is much like organising a dinner. Big projects are like organising a birthday or a wedding. the main point being you have to agree on a date and venue (release date), agree caterers (suppliers), figure out the guest list (target market, stakeholders etc), invite everyone and keep them updated with changes of plan up to the date, on the day and send out thank-yous ect afterwards (regular clear communication).

You've also often got to get a bunch of different people to work together and all deliver according to an agreed and often shifting timetable. You've got to accomdate all the individual differences you get within a group of people. You've got to get them to get along and work together. And if the deadlines or number of quests or something changes then everyone needs to know so they can adjust accordingly. 

Everyone has to plan how they're going to do their bit and also be able to make last minute changes as appropriate. It's just the way things work. 

I thought I'd write this simply because I think so many people think that delivering projects is a skill separate from anything that they do in their normal lives. Granted, not everyone plans borthdays and weddings and dinners but most people plan something ,a stag or hen do, a day ou  or something. We may only do it once and find it's all too much. I just want to show that projects have all the same factors. 

So if you want to figure out how to deliver a project well regardless of it's primary focus: software, educational or something else. You will find that you can learn as much from someone who organises the village fete as you can from a high powered executive. 

I thought  this analogy might make the idea of project management more approachable to many and give it a more human and less business focused image. 
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