Project Management

Applying PM Skills to Day-to-Day Life

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Take a moment and think about all the skills you use as a project manager to help organizations achieve the projects they pursue.

Now, think about how apropos those skills are to helping you navigate your life’s journey—its challenges, obstacles and successes.

Sound a little over the top? Let me help by breaking some things down by looking at a person’s life through the following series of different-yet-interrelated lenses:

  • Education and learning
  • Change and transition
  • Relationships
  • Happiness and fulfillment
  • Finance
  • Career
  • Legacy development
  • Retirement
  • End-of-life planning

Of course, this is just one way of looking at a person’s life (and I am confident you could come up with your own…share them in the comments below!). But for now, let’s work with these to illustrate the point.

With the above tracks in mind, the next step is to identify what is meant by “PM skills”—those skills a project manager uses in every project they lead. Below is the list that I will use (and yes, you can most likely expand on them). As PMs, we all need the ability to:

  • Plan, organize and execute
  • Quantify goals and objectives
  • Collaborate, facilitate, build and align consensus
  • Manage complexity
  • Engage and manage stakeholder relationships
  • Connect, relate and empathize
  • Motivate, inspire and lead

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