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Deliverable Me

'Deliverable' must be the clunkiest piece of jargon coming out of project management.

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One of the joys of being a parent and, in my case, a grandparent is that you can indulge in watching some really good kids' movies. And way up there in my top 10 is Despicable Me. I love the movie, the storyline, and ... I love the title.

So I'm playing around with it to make a point in this article. It's about deliverable Me.​

Perhaps the most clunky piece of jargon coming out of the project management profession has to be the word deliverable. There are far better alternatives: 'output,' 'product,' 'enabler,' and so on. As the name implies, a deliverable is what the project delivers, either at the end or along the way. It reminds the project manager that it is not all about the activities, the activity network, the resource planning, and so on. These all contribute to the busyness of the project, and although necessary, these can become an obsession and distract him or her from delivering the end product, and beyond that, the point of it all - the real benefits to the customer.

A few years ago I was working with a global publishing business. I ran a few project management and stakeholder engagement workshops. And then my client asked me if I could help by delivering a workshop for people to improve their personal work organisation. 'Overwhelm' as we now call it, was rampant, and people's working lives too often seemed to border on chaos. Productivity was certainly not what it should have been.

The most powerful productivity techniques were borrowed from project management.

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​I'd like to think the client invited me to think about this because my style of coaching project managers was refreshingly plain-speaking, without too much jargon, and it helped people see the reason behind what they were asked to do on a project.

So although I did not consider myself at that time to be any kind of productivity ninja, or time management guru, I accepted the invitation. I developed a one-day workshop called Organising Yourself More Effectively. It's not the snappiest of titles, I agree, but it set out what I hoped was the goal of the workshop.

It turned out to be a resounding success. In fact, the responses I had from delegates were somewhat surprising in the way I seemed to have helped them gain traction in their working lives.

Seeing my life as a project, the 'Deliverable Me.'

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​But when I dug a little deeper into what tools they had found particularly helpful, they were mostly borrowed from my project management bag of tricks. That made me think: some of the tools we use on projects and programmes can also be very powerful for the individual, for treating my life as a project, where I see myself as 'Deliverable Me.'

​I've produced a short report of the six top ones. If you would like to know what these were, click the button below.