My husband is a woodworker. He reads, plans, makes notes, makes more notes, draws pictures, creates mock-ups from cardboard, practices his ideas on leftovers, figures out the cost of materials, scouts various hardware stores, and eventually he starts the actual building of a project. I frequently tell him he has all the hallmarks of a great project manager, although his projects seldom complete on the schedule I provide!
So this weekend, in his new issue of Fine Homebuilding magazine, he points out an article on “Trading in your hammer for a clipboard.” My personal and professional life collided.
I don’t have a good analogy for the hammer, but I can say that many of those tasks listed above have happened in various forms to bring the Web Refresh project team to this point.
We held our last intake meeting as part of the refresh initiative last week. Looking back through schedules from almost a year ago (Oct. 12, 2018), my forecast was that we would be done with the refresh by Aug. 9, 2019. My optimism prevailed as we were off and running with intake meetings nearly every week.
Similar to construction projects, though, change orders came in which added to the project length. We added departments to the list along with new assignments that pulled staff onto other temporary duties.
If we stay on the current plan, we will be finishing up the website refresh project by October 7, a little over two months past what I had anticipated a year ago. But in the process, we’ve remodeled, redecorated, or created over 4,000 webpages on the way to this major milestone.
You might be wondering how all of this applies to the title today and the woodworking article where I started this post—It has to do with details and capturing all the tasks involved in any large initiative. Many of you have met me through our intake meetings this past year and quite a few have commented on my analog system of notetaking (my ubiquitous paper and pencil notebook).
I learned long ago that my working memory can only deal with about five to nine items at any given time (based on copious research). Notetaking is my project management secret sauce. If I don’t write it down, it will never get done. With almost 50 intake meetings, over 4,000 webpages, and a team of four to ten at any given time, notes, documentation, and recaps of meetings have kept us relatively on pace despite the variances.
I applaud Sarah Joyner, Christina Valenti, Josh Tyler and Jamesen Rees for the time and effort they all put in over the last year. Even with copious notes taken, the project would not have been possible without the hours spent by the Content Strategists!
And note to self….the start of the Drupal migration is just around the corner.