I have been the project manager for our small family business for a long time. As you may know, we provide services to the construction industry, specifically in the area of project management. All our clients are project managers in the construction industry. You can see exactly what we do by clicking here.
Our company is very small and I wear many hats. If you work for a small company you understand what I am talking about.
The Wake Up Call
A few years ago, specifically during the recession of 2008, I started contemplating the possibility that our company wasn’t going to make it through the rough times. I was watching other small business go belly up and that made me take a closer look at my own career.
While I had the title of project manager for years, I didn’t think I knew enough of the discipline of Project Management to be “hireable” in case I had to look for a job in a hurry. I could do my job very well; however, our company was very unique in what it did and it would be hard to transfer my skill set to another environment.
That is what made me decide to learn more about Project Management so I could be a more flexible professional.
In the worst case scenario, I would be more employable if I had to look for a job.
In the best case scenario, I would learn more about this discipline and would be able to relate to my clients better.
Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Learning Proper Project Management
I chose to study the PMI framework as it seemed to me to be the most recognizable standard in the field I was in. So I got the PMBOK guide, and started reading it.
While I could tell that the book had important information in it, I had a hard time seeing how it all fit together and how I could apply it to my work.
I did some research and asked some friends for advice. They told me I should get a companion book and perhaps take some lessons. They said that preparatory lessons for the PMP exam were great ways to learn the material in the PMBOK guide.
I got a couple of books, which were helpful. Taking PMP exam preparation classes, however were way too expensive for me at the time. A little more research and I was introduced to the unbelievably cheap PM Prepcast (affiliate link). So I watched the PM Prepcast, read the books, and read the PMBOK guide. If you’d like to see which books I read, check out action #5 of my post on getting PMP certified.
All of a sudden it all started to come together and make sense.
The Realization that Changed my Life, Career, and Business
While learning project management more in depth, I immediately saw how I could start implementing what I was learning into my every day life. I started drafting WBS (work breakdown structures) for my service contracts, analyzing risks, keeping track of resources, etc. My company started to run more efficiently and I was getting a lot more done at work.
I also realized that good project management helps at home too.
As a father of two and a homeowner, there are plenty of projects to be managed at home, and using good methodologies for them only made my life easier.
As I started to accomplish more in less time and with less resources, I was immediately more fulfilled and everyone who depended on me was immediately happier. It was then that I realized that…
Life is a project.
Think about it. What is a project but a temporary endeavour that produces a result? Our very lives, and everything we accomplish in them fits that definition.
That realization completely changed how I look at my life, the people in it, and the results I need to accomplish.
And best of all, we live in a time when an enormous amount of information is available to help us manage projects effectively.
I went from living my life mindlessly from day to day, to becoming somebody who is result-oriented, driven to accomplish, and with the sense that our lives are short. If we are to accomplish anything, we can only gain by learning how to accomplish things in a timely manner, using our resources well, and succeeding as often as possible.
I owe all of this to Project Management.
In subsequent articles I will share with you how you can implement project management into your life to boost your career, personal life, and your own business (if you have one).
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