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Project Management to the Rescue: No Bailout Necessary
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

As I watched the last two months of news, filled with the campaigns bantering back and forth and the doomsday headlines about the financial crisis, I had to shake my head and wonder – why can’t our government and the financial giants on Wall Street and around the world use the principles of Project Management to be effective?

If you listen to the news long enough, you would think being effective is difficult or impossible. Nothing is further from the truth! With Project Management, anything is possible. As an entrepreneur who runs my own business, I balance a budget, develop new products, and serve my customers, and I have found that even when the economy isn’t doing well, there is always opportunity. To tackle those opportunities, you need tools in your toolbox; Project Management is an optimal tool for times like these.

Good Project Management enables companies and organizations to:

  • Develop and deliver high-quality, low-cost products customers need and want.
  • Effectively use resources (people, money, and time) to meet organizational goals.
  • Manage a portfolio of projects that are all building blocks of the overall strategic vision.
  • Capture the collective wisdom of staff and lessons learned on previous projects or information about the overall growth and development of individuals and the organization.

Look at change as a perfect opportunity for you to use your Project Management skills and know-how to change the world. Here are ten ways to get started:

10 Ways to Use Project Management to Change Your World

  1. Set a personal and an organizational vision for long-term sustainable success because you tend to create what you focus on. Focus on failure, and that is what you will get. Focus on people, and even in turbulent times, you have a better chance of being able to make a huge difference.
  2. Create your own “school” of what it is you need and want to learn so you can be and become an effective contributor to other people and to your organization’s success.

  3. Develop a “can do, we will prevail” attitude, and bring those around you up with your thirst for knowledge and your enviable Project Management capabilities.

  4. Join the Project Management Institute as an individual and as a corporate member. Participating in this professional trade association helps both individuals and corporations better self-identify with doing good Project Management and that, in and of itself, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  5. Diversify and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This is true whether you are an individual relying on one industry or one company to meet all your financial needs or whether you are an organization that relies on one customer, or one product, to sustain your economic well-being.

  6. Develop a safety net that will let you take appropriate risks in your career, and in your projects, so that you can weather whatever comes along. It’s just like the flight attendants tell us on their pre-flight safety instructions: You need to secure your own mask before helping others.

  7. Don’t fall prey to those around you (and especially the media) with “the sky is falling” mentality. Do a risk management reality check on your projects and current events to develop your own risk management plan to handle the legitimate risks facing your life and your projects.

  8. Create a change management plan for your life. When new opportunities arise (and sometimes these come disguised as difficulties), assess how these will impact you achieving your overall goals, and develop a strategy that incorporates change into your reality.

  9. Drop commitments that are no longer serving you. You need to “cut bait” on the projects and commitments that are like the infamous bridge to nowhere. Look at these projects that are going nowhere and ask yourself, “If I had to make the decision today to start this project, would I?” If the answer is no, stop wasting your valuable resources on it.

  10. Find the path of least resistance where you can make the biggest contribution for the least amount of effort. Every individual and organization has unique talents that when used effectively, in the right environments, can have significant impact. If something has become too hard for you to do, maybe, just maybe, you should not be doing it. Seek out other opportunities where you can have more fun and make more of a difference. My personal motto is “What is meant to be, happens easily.”

So, don’t buy into the Doomsday mentality. Use your Project Management skills to make your own world and to make the most of every project, every day. It’s your time to take center stage and be at the forefront of meeting the challenges in your life, at work, at home or wherever you may find them.

About the Know How Network and Cheetah Learning

The Know How Network is a monthly column written by Michelle LaBrosse, the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. Distributed to hundreds of newsletters and media outlets around the world, the Know How Network brings the promise, purpose and passion of Project Management to people everywhere. Visit www.cheetahlearning.com to learn more about Cheetah PM, the fastest way to learn about Project Management and get your PMP. You can also get your career in gear with CheetahWare, free Project Management tools from Cheetah Learning.

About the Author

Michelle LaBrosse is the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. An international expert on accelerated learning and Project Management, she has grown Cheetah Learning into the market leader for Project Management training and professional development. In 2006, The Project Management Institute, www.pmi.org, selected Michelle as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. Michelle is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner & President Management program for entrepreneurs, and is the author of Cheetah Project Management and Cheetah Negotiations. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company and has 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide.

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