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Manolos or Dickies?

(image from niemanmarcus.com)Manolo Blahniks are designer shoes. They’re meant to be wearable works of art that are purchased and worn for the way they look, not to make your feet feel like they’re walking on clouds.

Dickies are workwear shoes. They’re meant to support the foot and be comfortable over long periods of time, not to make a fashion statement.

So what does this have to do with project management? Well, everything.

Dickies shoe; image from zappos.comIf your user is expecting Manolos and you’re managing a project and team that’s working toward Dickies, it doesn’t matter how expertly you plan, organize, and progress through the project. It won’t be successful.

Project management isn’t just about managing the project, it’s about understanding its purpose and your user’s expectations. If you’re asked to design a pair of shoes, first ask who’s going to be wearing them and what they’ll be doing in them. Provide the wearer with examples of different kinds of shoes and ask what they do or don’t like about each one. Learn what the wearer’s perfect shoe is, and why it’s perfect.

Before you take a single step executing the project, step into your user’s shoes.

You’ll save time, money, brainpower, and possibly your reputation by understanding what your user is expecting.

Oh Google Desktop, how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways: 182 emails, 22 documents, and 14 web pages.

If you don’t know Google Desktop, allow me to introduce you. You know that email from that graphic design firm, Creative…something? The one that you received so long ago it’s buried somewhere in a folder that, despite your organizational prowess, might as well be in Tahiti because you’ll never find it, let alone by 3:00? Well guess what. Google Desktop can find it for you. Before 3:00.

If it sounds good, I’m happy to arrange a setup. If you still need to do a little checking up on it before you commit to anything, here’s its online profile. And if it turns out I’m not a good matchmaker, breaking up isn’t hard to do. You just uninstall it. Although, you might have to use another search engine for a while, just to avoid the awkwardness.

Google Desktop Logo (from wikipedia.com)

(image from wikipedia.com)

Make a list…check!

When you have fourteen piles of stuff waiting to get done, the hardest part is getting started. So don’t start with the piles; start with a list. Here are a few tips to help you create one that’s organized and useful.

  • Make the first item on your list ‘Make a list.’ That way, when you’re done drafting it, you can check something off. You’ll feel like you’re already making progress and the rest of it won’t seem so daunting.
  • Start every item with a verb. When you read back through your list, you’ll see directions telling you exactly what to do.
  • Break tasks into the smallest pieces possible. It will make your list longer, but it will also make it more useful. Let’s say you have to draft a conference proposal, send it to your boss for review, and then submit it. That should be three items on your list, because each one is a separate task. If you follow the verb rule, you’ll find yourself doing this anyway.
  • Include deadlines. If you’ve been given a deadline, be sure you have it noted. And make up deadlines for yourself as well. Not only will they help you prioritize, they’ll keep you on track. If the conference proposal has to be submitted by August 1, you should have it to your boss by July 15.
  • Keep a consistent format. If you start with deadlines on the left, keep deadlines on the left. If you note that you’ve completed a task by crossing through it, don’t start making checkboxes. As soon as your list looks unorganized, you’ll feel unorganized.
  • Consolidate your lists. If you’ve started multiple lists, consolidate them into one. You can still identify different lists for different projects or different bosses by color coding.

Now, go make a list and start checking stuff off!

-jessicaC

PROjects or proJECTS

PROjects are nouns: they’re tasks, undertakings, they have a beginning and an end.

proJECTS is a verb: to cast forward, contemplate, communicate clearly.

So which one is it in ‘pointC projects’?

Well, it’s both. Through this blog, I’ll share tips and thoughts to help enhance your projects and tasks, and take them further than just their end. But I also hope that by doing so, your work is projected forward – to new ideas, conversations, collaborations, and success.

So here’s to future pointC projects and the hope that pointC projects.

-jessicaC