Project Management Tips from Santa Claus - Making a List and Checking it Twice

January 1, 2014 Marcus Varner

santa-clausIt's the holiday season and you know what that means... Santa Claus is coming to town!

Okay, but seriously, whether or not you personally celebrate Christmas or believe in Santa Claus, you've got to admit—the concept of Santa Claus is pretty spectacular. I mean, talk about being the ultimate project manager! From managing teams of elves, to managing the Naughty and Nice Lists, to making reindeer fly, to the production and delivery of millions of toys for the children of the world in one night, St. Nick is one epic specimen of project management (speaking of which, check out the ebook "3 Reasons Project Management is Broken and How to Fix It").

That's why I thought the post on the Duration-Driven, PMAlliance blog was so much fun. The post lists five project management tips we can learn from Santa Claus, including (but not limited to) learning how to prioritize and focus your energies, valuing creativity, keeping stakeholders engaged, avoiding panic mode, and my personal favorite:

Make a list and check it twice.

Project management, well, it's all about lists. And rightfully so, in my opinion. (But I'm probably slightly biased, since I rely on lists for basic survival and sanity - no, really, I probably make 3-4 lists a day...) Project managers rely on task lists, project lists, lists of dates, lists of resources, lists of project details, etc. (Okay, so maybe these lists look more like spreadsheets, but they're lists just the same.) The point is, when you're managing so many things at once, it's important to make sure you're checking your lists twice...regularly.

As the Duration-Driven blog post suggests:

"Take a page out of Santa's play book and craft yourself some master checklists for all those important project details. And not only should you regularly review your lists to be sure they're current and comprehensive, it's also a good idea to have others on your team look them over as well."

Once again, I'm making a nod toward collaborative project management, here. The best way to make sure your lists are up-to-date and correct is to share them with your team, preferably in a way where everyone has access and editing abilities. Capturing updates as they happen is invaluable.

So, this holiday season, I hope you're spreading that holiday cheer on your projects by keeping things collaborative and giving your team (and yourself) more project visibility.

Or try this: think of collaboration as being like Rudolph's nose - the ticket to visibility in the middle of your project snowstorms.

To learn how you can spot what's wrong with your project management, download our free ebook "3 Reasons Why Project Management is Broken and How to Fix It."

About the Author

Marcus Varner

Marcus is a content strategist and producer who loves helping brands craft content that improves customers' lives, builds brand credibility, and demands to be shared. For the last 10 years, Marcus has worked in every type of content—from writing to video production to design—and is currently a senior content marketing manager at Workfront, where he oversees all corporate- and awareness-level level content. When he's not producing content, he's consuming it, in the form of books, movies, and podcasts.

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