project: Marah

project management for the things that really matter


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Here’s my requisite inaugural blog post.

Congratulations to the Inaugural Committee, chaired by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and all of their staffers for supporting and facilitating a very large and complex event. The inauguration is filled with a ton of process and protocol, all needing to be managed. Their website isn’t much, but trust me, there’s a huge amount of teamwork and coordination to get an event like that off the ground.

Well before I started a career in Project Management, I had a career in Stage Management – creating and running events, theatrical shows, concerts, etc.  I never managed an event for an audience of 2MM, but I have definitely managed casts and technical projects numbering members of at least 100.  Keeping on time and on script is difficult at best.  I know that I don’t begrudge the Inauguration the extra 5 or so minutes they ran behind schedule, or the Oath of Office Do-Over.

The other piece of business worth mentioning here is highlighting a parts of the Inaugural Address. I was particularly intrigued by the following passage:

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end….

In this section of the address President Obama gets me thinking about setting goals and objectives.  It also reminds me that I never did do my New Year’s day post, as I was (1) dealing with data loss ; and (2) drowning my sorrow in making crepes.

We are now, as so many have called it, a new era, and therefore I am going to talk about setting goals and objectives.


Management by Objectives is a project management standby.  Better paraphrased by the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland – “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”.

President Obama is talking about measuring federal programs against metrics to determine their future funding.

SMART goals take it one step further, and use the word as a mnemonic  to frame the creation of the perfect goal containing all of the following items Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

The premise is that if one writes their goals (or their resolutions) in this way, they will be easier to achieve than if they were missing any of the key components.  The many goals set out in the inaugural address were not completely articulated in this fashion – however, for complex goals and complicated situations, it is hard to create a soundbite that is complete.

Me, I’m keeping an eye on my goals, and that includes Blogging here weekly on how project management relates to everyday life.


Written by marahrosenberg

27 January 2009 at 12:16 am

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