Posts

How to Become a Project Manager -- Lessons From the Corporate World

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Since this has come up a couple of times recently (in both my online and IRL lives), I thought it would be useful to spread the PM gospel. While I believe that everyone can benefit from acquiring some PM skills in order to meet their own goals, there are also some people for whom project management would be a good career.

First of all, why would anyone want to be a project manager for a living?

The skills are cross functional and can be used in many industries, from computers to medical care to construction. That means more options in the job market based on other skills you already have.The money is good. Let's just be blunt about it. PMs make a good living. They tend to be respected and valued for the work they do.Your job isn't going to get replaced by a robot any time soon.The role isn't easy to off-shore (and if you have PM skills managing off-shore teams, you are doubly valuable).You don't need -- and likely don't even want -- a college degree in PM. This is a …

EBER Project -- Play to Your Strengths (Lessons from the Corporate Sphere)

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This post is an expansion of part of this earlier post on setting big goals. If you are trying to figure out what big thing to pursue, I still recommend that post (plus it has a nifty Dr. Horrible theme). This post is about just one important piece of that... focusing on what you do well.

The idea is to play to your strengths and talents. Not because working on your weaknesses is bad but because it's not the best use of your energy. And for a really big goal, you need all the energy you can get. Being athletic has never been a strength of mine, but in looking at ways to be more fit, I need to focus on things I can do. Joining a sports team would be terrible idea, but an activity where I only compete with myself and have a way of seeing progress... that plays to my strengths.

Lots of business and life coaches suggest playing on strengths, so I went hunting for actual research that backs it up. And there is plenty. Plus doing a lot of what you suck at just kind of sucks. It's not …

Bullet Ephemeris Public Service Announcement

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Ever since mentioning my Bullet Ephemeris (and then blogging about it), I've been seeing masses of directed advertising for custom hardbound planner books. I am frankly stunned at the number and variety of these, to the point that I feel obliged to make sort of a public service announcement.

Each of these ads makes roughly the same claims for their product:

It will help you achieve every single goal you've ever even remotely contemplatedIt will turn you into hyper-achieving accomplishment machinesIt will banish all stress, wasted time, and bad hair-days from your lifeIt is, each and every one, better than all the others
Sigh. Let's have a little chat.

First of all, writing stuff down and being organized isn't a bad thing. But if a fancy form you fill out was all it took to meet your goals... well, there wouldn't be literally dozens of these out there on the Internet. This is why I don't ever give templates to my private consulting clients. In part because I lear…

FAQs About my Consulting Services

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Well, there's been a lot of interest in my consulting services since I went on Gordon's podcast. And I've gotten several questions that I though would be useful to answer here.



First of all, what consulting services? Go take a look -- if you ever wanted to be more organized or have someone to help you get your shit together, well that's what I do. And if you want to combine that with magic for even more leverage? That's my specialty.

FAQs
How do I start?
I usually like to start with a free half hour Skype chat. I learn what you're after and you to learn how I work. The goal is to decide whether we're a good fit before you spend any money.

How do you work?
I'm neither a therapist or life coach. I like to keep things super practical. Every minute of our consultation needs to be productive and you should come away feeling like you have concrete next steps. You will have homework that I review before the next session. That means our time together is more foc…

The EBER Project -- When Goals Attack

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When I started planning my major, three year project (dubbed Early to Bed, Early to Rise -- EBER) I knew it was important to immediately begin working on one or two of the goals. So I broke down part of the project into epics and then chose a couple of stories to get started on. This even before initiating the project.

This is useful because it keeps me from getting too caught up in planning. I need to be making traction even while the rest of the plan comes into focus.

My two chosen epics were around physical fitness and information gathering. Now, there's an argument to be made against focusing on too many things at once. But there's also some logic around intelligently picking stories that compliment one another.

My physical fitness stories are primarily physical -- though they have emotional and mental benefits. They are active but allow me time to think. My information gathering stories are mental / spiritual. They are contemplative but require focus and quiet time.

So th…

Sustain-ability: what you can, with what you've got, where you are.

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Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt

Boy, this past week has been crazy and the next is shaping up the same. We've got family illness, migraines, too much work, not enough sleep, etc. And lots of good stuff going on too (like PM consults and travel and plans to meet people and so forth). We've all been focused on just motoring through the tough stuff so we can try to enjoy the good.

This happens to everyone of course. Chaos theory tells us that shit clumps up (actually it probably tells us some more elegant things using math, but go with me here) and good or bad, stuff does seem to clump. Even the budding psychonaut commented on it: "why is it completely boring for weeks and then suddenly everything happens all at once?"


When things get crazy, I like to remind myself of the quote above. Sometimes plans, goals, and best intentions are all sacrificed on the altar of the daily grind. Whatever you want to do, sometimes there are t…

EBER Project -- Bullet Ephemeris Redux

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Since I'm in the middle of flushing out the EBER project, I wanted to explain how I've been using the bullet ephemeris for project planning and management.

First, I created a main project page to capture the high level stuff:


Sorry for all the blank space, but it is a personal project after all.

I ended up using vision statements rather than a long narrative paragraph. This means that my vision statement sounds a lot like the kind of things I'd make sigils out of -- and don't think I won't take advantage of that.

I also very briefly outlined the first two main phases of the project, which are scheduled to take a year. Then I'll have a month long review / planning period to define and kick off year two. This is important for two reasons: one, the entire first year is focused on information gathering so I won't know what's next until I have more information and two, with agile planning I don't have to know everything in advance.

Consider how lightweig…