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Last week, I published a blog of tips to help organizations launch a more disciplined project management approach. This week, with the holidays quickly approaching, I thought I might take a different approach, just for fun, and compare dieting and project management. Both require discipline, get boring quickly, and yield big results if done well.

Project management and dieting – both take discipline; get boring quickly, and yield big results if… Click To Tweet

Here are five project management disciplines that might even help you face the temptations at the party buffets.

1.  Ask yourself frequently: Why?

Hopefully, your team figured this out before you started the project. But, memories fade, and as your team goes into the third month on a project, you will need to remind them why they are doing the project. And when you are facing the party buffet, ask yourself why you want to lose that 25 pounds.

2.  Write it down.

Clearly documenting all of your details, including exactly what is needed on your activities, risks, lessons learned, and a host of other project details, will give everyone on your project team clarity. Writing down everything you eat will help you realize how much food went into your mouth.

3.  Acknowledge problems early.

Anyone with project experience understands that there are problems. The challenge is to build a collaborative culture where people aren’t afraid to disclose that they need help or that something has come up that is going to create a problem down the road. Anyone who is trying to lose weight has faced challenges as well. Find a dieting partner to hold you accountable and confess your failings early, before the pounds add up. It may be as simple as a weekly weigh-in.

4.  Commit to focusing on your objectives regularly.

Is your dieting objective to lose weight or is it to eat more healthy food? How often and what kinds of foods are you planning to eat? Low fat, high protein, low carbs, no added sugar… the list goes on. It’s no different with projects. What is your goal? How are you going to reach it? And, when you talk about scope, don’t forget to think about your scope exclusions. When you stay focused on your objectives, it’s easier to say no.

5.  Celebrate the small victories.

Why should project teams only celebrate at the end? Milestone accomplishments can be a great time to celebrate. Even high-fives with eye contact at standing meetings can make people feel like what they are doing is important and valued. A simple “I’m proud of you” from your diet partner can go a long way towards helping people feel focused and successful. Success breeds success. Don’t underestimate the importance of celebrating accomplishments with something other than donuts, beer and pizza.

To all of my readers from the United States, Happy Thanksgiving!

Does your team need help? Give us a shout!

Photo Credit: Beginning of diet; by The Italian Voice; Jan. 2008; CC by 2.0 License;