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Driving Your Car is Very Much Like Running a Project

autobahnMany of us drive to work every single day without ever taking a few minutes to consider how driving is very much like running a project in many ways. If you don’t believe me then here are a few examples to chew over the next time you get behind the wheel.

Know What Trouble Might Be Ahead

Driving is a lot safer and far less stressful when you know what potential dangers lie ahead. To do this properly you need to pay attention to the road signs and to listen to the traffic updates on the radio. When it comes to keeping your project ticking along nicely you have other ways of making sure that you know what possible problems lie in wait for you further along the road. For a start, your project plan can be an invaluable tool if you use it properly. By tracking the plan on a regular basis you will be able to see at a glance when there is a danger of slipping off schedule. Another way of doing this is by keeping close control of your risks and issues log. This is where you will be able to see the possible impact of the dangers which you know could befall your piece of work at some point along the way.

Practice and Keep on Learning

When you first learn to drive it seems impossible that you will ever manage to do it well, doesn’t it? How on earth can people control the steering wheel while changing gear, pressing the right pedals and looking at the traffic lights? It really is all about multi tasking and it is only by putting in lots of hours of practise that you can expect to become as comfortable as you need to be. I remember spending lots of Sunday afternoons thinking I would never get the hang of driving but I didn’t give up and I got there in the end. In the project world things might also seem overwhelming at first. This is why you also need to spend hours doing the job and putting in the practise. I would always recommend going on a number of training courses in order to feel as comfortable as possible in the shortest possible time frame.

Don’t Speed Too Much

We all know that speeding is dangerous out on the road but what about on your project? If you get too far ahead of yourself here then the biggest possible problem is that you could waste a lot of time by carrying out tasks which didn’t need to be done. It is very tempting to speed ahead of plan when you are feeling full of energy but you need to temper you enthusiasm, just as you do when you are tempted to put your foot down on a seemingly clear road.

Pay Attention to What Is Going On Around You

As far as I am concerned the biggest danger out on the road is that of not paying enough attention to what is going on around you. This is something which seems really difficult to do at the start, as you will be concentrating all of your energy on just keeping the blooming car on the road and moving in a fairly straight line. However, after a while you will realise that it is a lot easier to do this than you first thought. When you are working on a project you also need to be aware that other projects which are going on in the business could have a big effect on what you are doing.

Enjoy the Experience

Like many new drivers I was completely terrified the first few times I went out on the road. Begin in control of a heavy piece of machinery which is capable of shooting along the road at terrifying speeds is a great responsibility, just as running a project is. I didn’t enjoy driving at all for the first year because of my fear of crashing. This all changed one fine Sunday when I slapped a Frank Sinatra CD into the player, put on my sunglasses and headed out for a long, meandering drive. Since then I have loved driving almost as much as working on projects. If there is something which is holding you back from enjoying the project management experience as much as you should do then you should have a think about how you can overcome it. Old Blue Eyes probably isn’t the answer but that shouldn’t stop you from trying a few different approaches.

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