The 5 Phases of Project Planning

26 07 2007

Originally uploaded by kestorr

David Allen, productivity Guru, defines a project as an any outcome you’ve committed to achieving that will require more than one action step to complete.Ir-regardless how complex or simple a project might seem, ‘Implement a Staff Performance Management System for an MNC’ or ‘Candle Light Dinner with Your Spouse’, your mind goes through these five steps chronologically to accomplish virtually any tasks.

1. Defining PurposeIt never hurts to ask the ‘why’ question. (i.e. Why are you going to your next meeting? What’s the purpose of your task?) To know and to be clear about the purpose of any activity clarifies focus, breeds creative development and foster cooperation amongst team members in a project team setting.Your purpose must be clear and specific enough. The question “How will I know when this is off-purpose?” must have a clear answer. In other words, if you don’t really know when you’ve met your purpose or when you’ve off track, you don’t have a viable directive.

2. Clarifying OutcomeVision/Outcome provides the actual blueprint of the final result. You must have a clear picture in your mind of what success would look, sound and feel like. You won’t see how to do it until you see yourself doing it. Questions to ask yourself when clarifying the outcome of any projects could be “What will happened when this project can be checked off?” Describe it in past tense.

3. BrainstormingOnce you know why you want to have happen and envisioned the successful outcome in your mind, your mind identifies the gap between current reality and automatically start filling in the gaps, ‘brainstorming’. Give yourself permission to capture and express any ideas externally, and the later on figure out how it fits in and what to do with it.It is important to capture your ideas externally (i.e. on mind maps, outlines) because in addition to capturing your original ideas, it can help generate many new ones that might not have occurred to you if you don’t have a mechanism to hold your thoughts and continually reflect them back to you. Your mind is for having idea, not holding them.

4. OrganizingOnce you get all the ideas out of your head and in front of your eyes, you’ll automatically notice natural relationships and structure.Organizing usually happens when you identify components, sequences and priorities. Start by identifying the significant pieces. “What is the most important element to ensure the success of the project?”. Sort the various components and sequences. “What are the things and what order must they occur to create the final result?”.When organizing, it is important to adopt critical thinking in your though process, because the things that matters most should never be at the mercy of things that matters least.

5. Identifying Next Actions A Next Action is defined as the next physical activity to move the project towards closure. Technically, you don’t actually do a project, you can only do action steps related to it.Answering the question about what specifically you would do about something physically if you had nothing else to do will test the maturity of your thinking about the project. If you’re not ready to answer that question, you have more to flesh out at some prior level in the project planning sequence.


How To Initiate A Conversation – Topics Of Conversation

12 07 2007

Originally uploaded by kestorr

Stumbled across an article on about topics of conversation you can use when initiating a conversation social networking sessions.

I find this tip very helpful;

2. Everything is fair game. If you are in the company of someone and a thought strikes you, share it. “This drink is garbage! What are you drinking?” “Where did you get that outfit?

”What do you think?

Common Misconceptions About Leadership

11 07 2007

Most people in today’s corporate society would have already underwent basic leadership training in one form or the other. We are all well taught what leadership is. But how about what leadership isn’t?

Leadership is often confused with power. The common idea is that leaders speak, and followers do. But while leaders may also hold a certain kind of power, in some senses power is the opposite of leadership: power is what we resort to when leadership fails. When leadership works, it creates leaders, not followers.

Leadership is often misconceived that it flows from charisma. While history does offer us the example of charismatic leaders, there are plenty of examples of effective leaders who lack charisma: Margaret Thatcher, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, and Richard Nixon, to name a few.

3 Principles of Debt Management

24 05 2007

Originally uploaded by kestorr.

I’ve been reading quite actively on personal financial management lately. Primarily, trying to acquire more knowlege in the area of debt management (trying to clear off my credit card bill). I can conclude from my observations of various blogs and articles, a one liner summary of debt management is: Spend less than you earn. As basic this equation is, we often fail to observe this rule simply due to lack of self-discipline.

However, all is not lost. There are actionable steps we can all take towards debt elimination. Most importantly, is to start NOW, and follow these 3 key principles:

Pre-requisites: Strong self-discipline

1. Stop Acquiring New Debt
The first principle towards debt elimination is to stop incurring new debts. Stop using credit. Cut up your credit card.

2. Build Emergency Fund
You can’t cope with unexpected expenses when you have nothing to fall back on. DO NOT use your credit card as a basis of emergency funding. DO NOT use your emergency funding as spending money.

3. Implement a Debt Snowball (Heavily endorsed by Personal Financial Management Guru, Dave Ramsey)
In the order from smallest to biggest, eliminate your smallest debt first then tackle the next debt in line. There’s great psychological boost in paying off that first, small debt, and you can ride the momentum of this boost to keep you going.

10 Keys to Writing Great Blogs

23 05 2007

Originally uploaded by kestorr.

In my opinion, a great blog is all about great content. Apart from having great material, from my observations, I find that a great blog would typically consist these few key elements. Attractive headlines; Condensed information in a clear and concise format; Easily comprehendible material.

Of course, writing a great blog takes tonnes of practice and effort. But for starters, to write a great blog, I think a blogger should follow these 10 key guidelines.

1. Learn to write great headlines.
2. Make your articles scannable. People don’t read on the Internet. They scan.
3. Use numbers in your titles to attract attention.
4. Vary your content. Be unique.
5. Edit your writing ruthlessly.
6. Write with passion. It will come through in your writing.
7. Write like you talk. Imagine that you are chatting with them over lunch at a local cafe.
8. Make your important points up front.
9. Include bullet point lists.
10. Read voraciously and bring your readers the golden nuggets of everything you learn.