“Tasks expand to the amount of time we give them” asserts the Parkinson’s Rule. I remember first reading about this in the Four-Hour Workweek from Tim Ferris. Think about it - what tasks have expanded to the amount of time you have given them?
Whether you are a solopreneur or work with a VA or other freelance members, having a variety of tools to manage projects is key. These tools are likely to be virtual so you can share them with others, and you may have different tools for different purposes.
In selecting a tool consider:
What are the tools you want to start incorporating into your work this year, to make projects flow more smoothly?
Enjoy your week,
Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author multiple books including the Coaching Business Builder Workbook and Planner (2018), Effective Group Coaching (2010)
Looking for some daily focus around your work? Join me over on Instagram @CoachingBizBuilder for a daily question or prompt as part of the #90DaysPlanDoTrack series.
Check out the November 2018 CBB Book Club Call entitled "2019 Planning. Already?". You can view it here.
This week our attention is going to shift to quickly explore 5 key skills in project management. Whether you are creating an e-book, designing a new program or deciding on new systems for your business, as solopreneurs we are regularly managing projects as a team of one.
In project management, historically, the foundation has been that for any project there is a triple constraint – time, budget and scope. Like a triangle, it is said that these things are fixed (at least in traditional project management). So if my budget gets reduced, it might take a little longer to do things as we now need to do them in-house OR the scope of the project may change given that we no longer have resources to complete a six month project, so instead we may need to do a three month project.
With this in mind the first project management skill I think is important is getting good at identifying project requirements.
Spending additional time making sure we have this first step of project requirements right, helps to make the rest of it flow more smoothly (usually!).
It was in this phase of project identification that I first became aware of the adage that “10 minutes of planning can save 2 hours of unfocused effort”. So true!
With this is in mind, let’s look at five key project management skills that solopreneurs will want to boost:
What do you see as essential project management skills for solopreneurs? Which ones have you been leaning into as a project team of one?
Share with us using the comments below.
Most coaches, solopreneurs, and business owners are going to be involved in a variety of projects during the coming year. What can make it challenging is the fact that you might be working alone on a project, moving it ahead in small increments OR working with an entire virtual team.
Many of the same principles apply from program design (a focus here this past fal) to project planning, and we’re going to widen our focus a bit. From Lean, to Agile, to Six Sigma, larger and smaller organizations of all kinds have been iterating the way they work.
As coaches we may be involved in projects big and small – from creating a new digital product, to organizing a series of workshop. Honing our skills in project planning and project management is very important.
As you step into your quarterly projects consider asking, reflecting and fostering discussion around these questions related to project planning:
10 Questions to ask:
What other questions would you ask around the current projects you are working on?
Let us know what projects you have on the docket by sharing in the comments!
"The best companies never transform to greatness in one fell swoop. There is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Sustainable transformations [to greatness] follow a predictable pattern of build-up and breakthrough. Like pushing on a giant heavy flywheel, it takes a lot of effort to get the thing moving at all, but with persistent pushing in a consistent direction over a long period of time, the flywheel builds momentum, eventually hitting a point of breakthrough." (Jim Collins, Good to Great).
As you think abut your focus this year, what is the one thing you want to do consistently throughout they year, to start generating the momentum Jim Collins talks about. Perhaps it’s regularly focusing on:
Writing – What is the book you have in you that is waiting to get out? Is there a series of articles or blog posts?
Photography – Are you looking to share more about what you do, who you are, and the impact your conversations are having through photography? Instagram continues to grow in terms of popularity and video engagement is critical.
Building community – Are you looking to host a group this year? Life, paid, or on Facebook? Are you looking to network more and build relationships virtually or in person? What would consistent action in creating community look like for you?
Speaking – What could a focus on speaking look like for you this year? What topics would you present on? What would the top 3 bullet points be? Who is your audience?
If there was one thing you could do consistently every day this year, what would it be? Schedule it in now, and notice what happens!
One thing that I'll be doing this year for all 52 weeks of the year is sharing a weekly focus for your business and professional growth called 52 Weeks of Planning, Doing and Tracking. It's a Compendium to Coaching Business Builder and PlanDoTrack. If you have enjoyed reading the CBB and want a deeper, or more bite-sized dive, this is for you! Check out the kick off of the weekly blog posts here. They will be published on Friday morning over at the PlanDoTrack Blog and will be of interest to readers of both the PDT and Coaching Business Builder.
Here at the CBB Blog, our attention this month is going to shift over to annual planning, and project management. Be sure to check out the 1st of two January calls on Creating Your Annual To-Do List at my YouTube channel on the Coaching Business Builder Playlist here. The first call is being held later this morning - January 7th at 11 am ET at my zoom room (270-302-0415). Hope you'll drop in and join us!
The tagline for Coaching Business Builder and PlanDoTrack is "Daily Steps + Consistent Action = Momentum". Over the last few decades I have seen as a coach, and in my former work as a program manager, how small steps every day, really add up for businesses of all sizes - micro-enterprise, solopreneurs, and larger businesses.
With this in mind, this year I'm hosting a new social challenge I'm calling 1 Biz Step a Day. Each month I'm offering daily prompts to support you to get into small steps around your business. Let's see what consistent actions it leads to and what momentum it creates!
I hope that you will follow along and share your progress, not only here at the blog, but also over on Instagram at @CoachingBizBuilder and the Effective Group Coaching Facebook Page.
Download a copy of the 1 Biz Step a Day for January here. The focus is on business fundamentals - communication, systems and other basics. Putting the foundations in order helps move things more quickly, later in the year.
PS - Later this week I'll be kicking off another year-long project you will probably be interested in. It's a 52 Week planning series I'll be sharing over at my sibling "PlanDoTrack" Website. I'm calling it the 52 Weeks of Planning, Doing and Tracking.
Consider it a weekly compendium to the Coaching Business Builder and PlanDoTrack Workbooks - structured activities and prompts to get you working through your workbook and planner. First prompt will be Friday at 6 am! Read more about it here.
Best wishes for 2019,
Author of Coaching Business Builder (2018), Effective Virtual Conversations (2017),
Potentials Realized - Supporting Coaches, Businesses, Leaders and Teams
Is 2019 your year to take it ahead? Join me for one of our two annual groups - The Learning Lab and Design Studio (focusing on program design) or the Coaching Biz Growth Lab (focusing on coaching business development)
Coaching Business Builder/PlanDoTrack Facilitator Training (24 CCEs) starts again February 3 2020 (Mondays 6-9 pm Eastern by zoom) Reserve your spot.
Mentor Coaching Group for ACC/PCC - Mondays 12 - 1pm Eastern: Starting February 3 and running to early May 2020 - Reserve your spot.
Group Coaching Essentials (8.75 CCEs) - Mondays 9 -1015 am ET starting February 3, 2020 (5 weeks) or Fridays 1015 - 1150 am ET (4 weeks session): February 21, 28, March 6, 13, 2020
Virtual Facilitation Essentials (8.5 CCEs) - Mondays 1:30 - 2:45 pm ET starting mid-Febraury (5 weeks)
Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum - starts Mondays 3 pm ET - March 2 (6 weeks, no call 3/16)
60 Day CBB Accelerator - 60 days of focused action around your business. Starts 1st day of each month.
Bonus! Download a year-end checklist
Coach Jennifer Britton has worked with entrepreneurs across a variety of sectors since the late 1990s, even before she was in business herself. From supporting micro-entreprise and eco-tourism businesses to working with service based entrepreneurs and coaches, her PRACTICAL and TACTICAL approach to business coaching is ACTION focused, with emphasis on AWARENESS as well. Jenn is the author of the Coaching Business Builder Workbook and planner, and 3 others books related to group and team coaching and virtual conversations. She also hosts the Coaching BIzGrowth Lab, an open-enrollment group coaching program for coaches. Jenn founded her business - Potentials Realized - in April 2004.