Yes I said wedding! As a new bride-to-be I learned very quickly that planning a wedding is very exciting, but at the same time overwhelming and stressful. You have to book the church, lock down a venue, hire a photographer, secure good entertainment that can get your guests on the dance floor. Then there are dress fittings, flowers, cake, invitations, centerpieces and the list goes on! There is a lot to do in a specific amount of time, many things to consider and all of these choices must be prioritized. So how is this similar to an ECM project? Well at the core of both wedding planning and ECM projects you will find very similar goals and key guidelines to follow to make the process efficient and manageable.
After working with many customers on ECM projects and being smack in the middle of wedding planning – here are 5 ways these two projects are similar:
The first thing I did when I got engaged was purchase Bride Magazines and started a vision board. I cut out pictures of wedding dresses, flowers, centerpieces and more. I asked myself, how big did we want the ceremony? What color will it be? Where will the reception be held? A vision is important because it gives direction. Just like with a project, a vision creates momentum for ideas to get in motion. It is a path for others to follow and provides guidance for what the overall goal is. It gets people on the same page and move forward successfully.
The next thing that was a big slap in the face was cost. Weddings are expensive and in order to not break the bank, we had to come up with a budget and follow it. This is true for a project. Some projects involve software costs, other projects are strictly service work and others are a combination of both. A budget helps dictate how and where money is spent. Sure there might be software that is a “nice to have” or additional work can be performed to make workers happier, but is it necessary? A budget helps prevent you from making unnecessary purchases that can directly impact the project and your organization.
Once we had our vision and created our budget we then had to prioritize what was most important to us. We knew these items would require us to invest the most time and money. Similar to a project, priorities need to be created. You need to understand the goals of the project and how they impact your organization. These become the main drivers of the project. Other things will come up, but if they are not one of these drivers they may need to take a backseat until more money or time allows.
Speaking of time…having a timeline is key! I realized very quickly how fast things book in the wedding industry and if I don’t stay on top of my planning, then I may miss out on some really amazing things. This holds true for projects. A timeline is key for making sure a project is on tract and that tasks are being executed and completed. If a timeline is not created then things would get done at everyone’s leisure and success would not be in the cards. Timelines are not meant to create stress, but rather keep the wheels in motion and stay on track.
My friends continue to remind me that wedding planning should be fun! It shouldn’t be a second job and should definitely not cause stress. Sure that is easier said than done, so I am trying to enjoy every aspect of the planning and remember that once it is done, my wedding day will be the happiest day of my life. Sure, maybe completing a project won’t be the happiest day of your life, but why can’t you have fun while in the process. Projects are meant to help and enhance your work experience, so if you can enjoy the process to become more efficient it will most likely end in success!