Does Christmas need a spreadsheet? Senior Consultant Chris Prees uses project management methodology to take the stress out of Christmas.
At Christmas, what could be more fun and festive than a good project plan? Project management methodology can bring order to the chaos of choosing presents, hosting guests, writing cards, preparing the turkey and the hundred and one other things on the Christmas to-do list.
After moving into a new house, our Christmas day tradition is to host Christmas dinner for the family (15 people). We love doing it, but it’s a big responsibility. To make sure the day goes smoothly, I use my project management skills, thinking about the various stages, stakeholders, suppliers, equipment and resources I need for a successful (and, of course, HOT) Christmas dinner.
I use a few suppliers (local butchers, supermarkets etc) and divvy out the responsibilities for starters and desserts. The equipment list alone includes five gas hobs, two ovens, two slow cookers, a three-tiered vegetable steamer, two large fridges and nowhere near enough work space. There are a lot of dependencies to be tracked.
In addition to planning, the turkey is my main responsibility. I have become very fond of Nigella’s turkey recipe. There are lots of ingredients, preparation and cooking processes to complete before serving at the table.
My project plan works well. Despite the jokes made by various family members on seeing the plan stuck to my kitchen cupboards, they soon appreciated the awesomeness of the dinner.
Sometimes we leave our work experience and knowledge at work. Having a good project plan will help anyone planning for Christmas. Principles such as planning each stage at a time, communicating with your stakeholders, allowing yourself time and budget, and always having a plan B can help reduce the inevitable stresses and strains of Christmas.
This season, I would encourage you to take some time and reflect. Think about the lessons you have learned, your new objective, the process you’ll need, the people, resource and communication involved, and how you will inspire and have fun. Write them down, put a plan in place and watch the success unfold!
Have a very Merry Christmas and an amazing new year.