The Strategist
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The Strategist

Basic Project Management

Principles that can be applied to anything

I went through a shift in my career a couple years ago. I went from Human Resources Strategist in an Automaker to Account Manager for an Ad Agency.

Before getting started at the new gig I, was expecting to meet a complete different world and completely different kind of people. I was excited and ready to embrace this new journey in the world of sales, but what I found out in no time was that the work was basically the same and people were also the same.

Soon I understood that whatever you do, whether it is job, hobbie, personal issues, etc. it will always go down to a single concept on how to solve any kind of problem.

The PDCA Method

There are many project management theories and methodologies available for use, but the one I like the most and seems to be the most versatile is the PDCA Method, most commonly used by engineers in factories, but applicable to most things in our lives.

I apply this method in my work, hobbies, dreams, everything and it works!

This methodology that works more like a mindset is an acronym for its steps of operation: Plan, Do, Control and Analysis.

Plan

Planning is the most important part of the project because it gives you, the project manager, an overview of the whole thing before it starts and operation guidelines. It’s also in this phase that you set your final goal and from there your milestones. Always from the end to the beginning.

Planning is tricky at first, specially in a new field of work and, there are no shortcuts in getting good at it other than repetition.

It is consisted of 6 steps: Identification, Gathering, Classification, Interpretation, Filtering and Timeline.

Identification: Find out the problem you want to solve.

Gathering: collection of information/data related to the problem. Gather the most information you can, even the ones that seems not to be directly connected to the problem.

Classification: group the data you collected and classify them into smaller groups.

Filtering: find the groups of information that are irrelevant to solving the problem.

Interpretation: connect the remaining groups of data to the problem you are trying to solve.

Timeline: unfold those problems into steps in a timeline for tracking and name the responsible for solving each problem (if you are in a team setting), setting it from the target date, to the begin.

Do/Control

Start to do whatever you have planned and watch all the aspects of the project unfold closely. Not close enough to put your hands on the work, but close enough to know exactly what are difficulties of the project and how it relates to the other lines of the project.

Remember to make all the progress traceable other than the word of the responsible (again, if you are in a team), so you will have tangible information on what is happening.

Understand that no project is error-proof and allow changes to happen, just avoiding to change the final date.

Analysis

Analysis of the results don’t need to happen exclusively at the end of a project, it can happen along the way, but make sure to only jump into conclusions at the end of the determined timeline, so you will have a better picture of how the plan unfolded.

Analyse everything that went right and wrong by diving deep into the many why's. Then make conclusions based on those facts and take those into consideration when developing the new plan.

Why I love PDCA

What I love the most about this mindset for Project Management is that it is highly customizable to each kind of project (engineering, content creation, management, events, etc.), it can be stacked into big picture PDCA to specific PDCAs and gives every worker a north on how to approach every kind of problem.

I’ve been using this methodology of thought for years already and it has been flawless to me. If you never tried before, go and try to apply it in your new assignment or project!

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Publication about Business Management Insights and Strategy

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