Personal PM in Action: Building a House with Asana

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website

As project managers, we often reinforce the importance of proper project management in our professional projects. However, when it comes to our personal projects--home improvement, non-profit charity fundraising or managing a college alumni board--do you apply the project management mindset and tools? I’ll be the first to admit I like to leave that level of thinking at the office, but I have found project management useful for a few significant personal projects.

I’m currently building a house. When I first met with the builder, I inquired about a project schedule with major milestones. He joked about putting together a Gantt chart and I smiled, knowing I’d likely put one together for him. Instead of a formal project schedule, I received an Excel spreadsheet with target dates that followed “pick-a-date” project management. Even though the tasks lack dependencies, I knew I’d have to understand their key milestones and know when to submit my customer design decisions such as room paint color, floor color, carpeting, tile and countertop selections.

Since the builder didn’t have MS Project, I decided to use Asana as the project collaboration tool to manage the home construction project (I previously featured Asana in my Tool Shop column at Projects@Work). Since Asana is a flexible project management tool, professional and …

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