Getting Back to Our Roots

Banyan tree

I realized when I was in graduate school that I needed to understand the concepts I was learning inside and out and be able to practically apply them, because this would be the work I would be doing for my career. I couldn’t simply memorize information to pass my tests, I needed to alter my thinking.

  • One of the most important elements I learned as I was studying to become a project manager were the five stages of a project: Concept and Initiation – lay out the project charter and project initiative.
  • Definition and Planning – determine scope, budget, work breakdown structure, Gantt chart, communication plan and risk management.
  • Launch or Execution – manage project, monitor progress and control changes. Manage risk and stakeholder engagement, lead the project.
  • Performance and Control – focus on objectives, quality deliverables, effort and cost tracking and performance.
  • Project Close – finally we document lessons learned, release project team and close the project.

Now that I have been in the workforce for many years when there is an urgent matter or crisis, I immediately go back to my project manager training. I do this without being aware until someone asks if we can hold back on the PM talk. I like to have a plan and know where we are going, what steps to take, how will we measure this, and what lessons we learned.

This sounds very similar to a PDSA or A3. We want to understand our current state, create a plan, have a team help implement the plan, follow up on how things are going, and document what’s working and what’s not to improve and repeat the cycle.

This isn’t new information, but it’s interesting as this crisis continues to become part of our lives at both home and work, we have to ask ourselves, what is our plan, and should we always go back to the basics? Remember what you were trained in and ask yourself, do those tools apply now? Do we go back to the basics without being aware that we are doing this? Should we go back to the basics and what we know before trying to implement something new? It’s important to remember what tried and true processes have helped you solve problems and approach your work in the past as we all tackle the new challenges ahead of us.


Heidi Betzinger, Program Director


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