Project Management 101

My past “work” life was immersed in managing resources and projects. While my role was not dedicated to PM (Project Management or Project Manager), I had some responsibility to see things getting done in a timely and cost-effective manner. Fortunately, I had a lot of help from a talented and experienced team, including a professional PM, allowing our company produce great products. A professional project manager combines skill, science and savvy to manage an array of complex tasks, intertwined with budgets, schedules and various resources. It is a big juggling act, and can be quite stressful! Three cheers to all those PM’s our there!

Preparing Fayaway for longer-term cruising is a full-time “job” for Kelly and me. It involves juggling of larger projects, each with sub-projects, budgets, resources and timing. (Hmmm… did I really leave my job? You betcha! But that’s another story.) For now, we had to figure out how to deal with all these tasks without going crazy. Hence, maybe a bit of PM 101 is needed.

I have lists of tasks, notes, pictures, numbers and details. Kelly focuses on the budget and I deal with the technical details. We both work on logistics and order lots of parts, receiving almost daily shipments from Amazon and various chandleries. She and I work together well on the boat, and at our apartment – a well-oiled machine, each helping one another to get all this stuff completed. We keep track of most details using hand-written lists and spreadsheets on Google Docs. I keep a tape measure and notebook (carried with me almost constantly) containing many sketches, measurements, part numbers, contact details, etc. But, one of our primary tracking tools is a series of Post-It Notes, on a prominent wall at our apartment.

I’ve mentioned already some of the work we’ve already completed and what’s left, but I may be repeating here that every day usually shows some accomplishment, thus providing more appreciation that we’re moving in the right direction. We celebrate the end of a day with cold malt beverage or glass of wine, as we ceremoniously move one or more notes from left to right. (While not taken with great care and consistency, you can see a basic time-lapse series of photos, starting from early March to present at this link). At first the movement was painfully slow, but has slowly gained momentum (and motivation). Key to colors and columns:

  • Blue – work by others (seems painfully slow)
  • Pink – mandatory (we won’t go without – by our choice)
  • Gold – optional (maybe we do, maybe we don’t – this can change too!)
  • Columns: left = not started; middle = in-process; right = done!

Many of the larger projects were conceived soon after purchasing Fayaway (our Wauquiez Pretorien 35) in early 2017. We purposely held off to learn from cruising her, what should go onto the list. Most tasks are not fixes, but rather enhancements or upgrades – as though starting from a “blank slate”. We focused on three areas: Safety, Reliability and Comfort. (Please send us a note if our readers would like to see a more itemized list of everything to date – it’s quite extensive!) Many items never made it to the post-it wall – usually these tasks do not specifically involve Fayaway, but are important nonetheless. (e.g. finding homes for furniture, creating legal trust, updating wills, financial issues, canceling cable, etc)

We are now at the point where almost all of our Fayaway work is complete (pink/gold moved to right – yay!), but we’re waiting (boo!) for the marina (blue, but critical) to finish their work. Let’s keep positive and hope it is soon – I can’t count how many times we’ve climbed up and down John’s step ladder (thanks again, John). We’re looking forward to soon stepping up from a dinghy and not a six foot step ladder, so to get this adventure going!

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