In order to reach a goal of any complexity, it is useful to have a system to get there.

Project Management Methodology is successfully used for decades for very different types of projects, from constructing a power plant to building and implementing software. This same methodology can be applied to the projects of your life.

Please note: for your life projects, these can be as simple or detailed as suits your personality and your project! Although these are very useful concepts, they don’t need to scare you off. You can tailor the basic concepts as you wish!

The basic steps are as follows:

We first begin with the end in mind, as Steven Covey says. We start with a conceptual design. We basically take a cut at what it is we truly desire. Make it inspiring! Make it juicy!

We then take this high level, inspiring idea, and drill it down to a more concrete description of what we really want. It is difficult to build a road map to something vague. Try to be as specific and concrete as possible as you describe what your goal looks like.

After we have a specific, concrete idea of what we want, we start our road map. The first cut of this road map is to consider what phases of activity are needed. For instance, if you are going to investigate a career change, then you might have the phases of personal assessments and values discovery, careers/professions explorations, training for the new profession, and the job hunt.

The next step is to drill these phases into their tasks and sub-tasks. This may sound a bit tedious, but if your dream inspires you, planning out how to really get there at last should get your juices flowing.

At this point, we need to list the resources we need for each task, and the durations and dates each tasks have. We also want to show dependencies on tasks. String those dependencies together from beginning to end. The famous “critical path” is the longest chain of tasks when you follow these dependencies all the way through. The critical path method is one of the best ways of knowing how long it is going to take you to reach your goal. Note there may be many tasks in your plan that are not on the critical path; these can be delayed without impact to your end date thus are not as urgent in terms of timing. That is one of the values of examining task dependencies.

Summing up one last time, start with an idea that energizes and inspires you, drill it down to something concrete, play with the ideas of what phases will be needed in order to bring this project to life, then (the more serious part) take those phases and break them down into tasks, take those tasks and nail them to a calendar and to resources. With a practical plan, you can reach your wildest dreams or most ordinary objectives. Project management works for life!

Good luck on your Project Life!

Copyright 2003 Katie Grames

Author's Bio: 

Katie Grames is a Business and Personal Development Coach who offers twenty years of project planning experience to her clients, so that they can create practical plans to reach their wildest dreams! She is a graduate of Coach U and a member of the International Coach Federation. Contact Katie for a complimentary consultation at, or visit her at