The Parent Project: Month 2

Eight weeks or so in, and The Parent Project is causing a lot of debate in our house. Thanks for all your lovely comments and emails about Jack, and your advice about how I can use my project management skills in parenting, as many of you do already.

Here are some of the other things I’ve learned this month.

It’s harder than you think

How many times have you said yes, you’d love to work on that project, before realising how hard it was going to be? You don’t understand the nuances of the work when you sign up for it and it is only when you are in full project panic mode that you appreciate just how hard the work has turned out to be. Mmmm, just like parenting.

You need a lot of resources

We are getting through a lot of resources: nappies and kitchen roll specifically. I expected that. On some projects you don’t realise what resources you’ll need until you are slap bang in the middle of it. For me on The Parent Project, it’s water. I had no idea how much I’d need. We use it for washing clothes, washing ourselves and the baby, sterilising stuff, and I’m thirsty all the time so the kettle is on for endless cups of tea.

Heaven knows what our environmental impact has been over the past 8 weeks.

You need to manage your stakeholders

On a project you have to balance the needs of all the stakeholders, while keeping your primary stakeholder (your sponsor) happy.

Parenting is the same. Family, colleagues, friends, all want to be kept informed. We don’t have a communications plan but if we did it wouldn’t be working as it’s a struggle to find enough time in the day to send out text messages, let alone structure coherent emails and attach photos. All the stakeholders except the primary stakeholder (Jack) seem to be getting a rough deal right now.

As on a couple of projects I’ve worked on over the past year, the priority is keeping the project managers sane. A friend Tweeted me saying that I should focus on looking after myself first – just like on an aeroplane when you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. You are no good to anyone if you aren’t capable of functioning properly.

So, on that note, it’s back to bed for me…