This weekend I will run my first marathon ever. It’s been a journey that’s taken over a year to get this far, and even then only with the use of agile project management techniques from an adaptive and empirical mindset. I’m sure it will take me a handful of posts to talk about all the techniques I used, but the first one I want to share with you is this:
Deliver Early, Deliver Often.
Theory: Agile practitioners universally advocate the use of short cycles. When large scary projects are decomposed into a series of timeboxed phases, they suddenly become suddenly achievable and less intimidating. It turns out that marathon training already has a commonly accepted cycle for crafting a project schedule: the weekly running plan.
Application: My very first research efforts led me to www.marathonrookie.com, which offers a basic 16-week complete training plan, broken down into a series of weekly goals.(scroll down to towards the bottom to see it). This is HUGE! Now I don’t have to run 26 miles, I only need to run 3. Heck, even I can do that.
In fact, I’ve heard that for distance running, your weekly goal is all that really matters. One of my advisors, PM expert and 3-time marathoner Dennis Stevens, told me that you should shoot for running in a week 1.5 times the number of miles for your target race. Running a 10K? Target 15K-per-week by race day. Running a half-marathon? Target 20m-per-week by race day. By the time you hit your peak, most marathon training plans have you doing between 34-40 miles per week.
More posts to come: Right now, I can think of several other techniques I used that I will be sharing with you all, such as…
- Go Small.
- Don’t fight adversity, adapt to it.
- Define project success beyond the constraints.
- Get some project data.
- Choose your team.
- Build an infrastructure.
- Review your Budget.
…and so on.
What about you? Have you found project management to help you achieve large personal goals like this?