Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Pizza, weight-loss and Project Management: Guide to achieving personal goals

Having just finished a day of heavy presentations at Raffles Place, a hyper active Business District in Singapore, we headed towards the open-air restaurants lining the beautiful Boat Quay on the banks of Singapore River with my team. We all ordered beer and Pizza. All except Senthil.

“Salad and soup for me” Senthil declared his menu.

“So you want salad as a starter. What about a drink?” Ajay was curious to know.

“I have put on weight. I am fine with salad and soup.”

“Just soup and salad? Are you following any diet program?” Senthil’s Project Manager and boss Ajay asked curiously.

“No Sir, just read it somewhere. You keep preaching about your Project Management techniques all the time, do you think they will help me in losing wait too?’ Senthil teased his boss.

So can we really achieve weight-loss using Project Management techniques?

But then one would argue what’s project in this case? So we recall the definition of Project which is “Any target which is unique and time bound can be called as Project”.

If so, reducing weight by 4 kg in 1 month can be treated as Project where weight reduction is a unique target and one month as pre-decided duration. So let’s see whether the five phases of project management are applicable even in this case.

The first phase of Project Management is the initiation phase wherein we decide various options or approaches to perform the same. Deciding among various options of weight reduction (E.g. Dieting, Joining a Gym, Jogging, etc) is the first phase called as Initiation.

Second phase is planning. In this stage various exercises along with diet can be planned for achieving target of weight reduction.

Carrying out exercises and following diet as per the plan is a part of third phase i.e. Execution phase.

Monitoring weight at the end of every week and deciding corrective action is a part of fourth phase which is called as Monitoring & Controlling phase.

Finally achieving target and terminating weight reduction program is fifth phase called as Closing phase.

Now let’s see which important elements of Project Management are applicable in this case.

  • Project Charter – Weight reduction by 4 kg in a span of one month
  • Scope – identified exercises and/or diet
  • Time – duration  of one month
  • Cost – Budget for personal trainer, gymnasium, diet food etc.
  • Quality – Quality of trainer, exercise equipment, Quality time spend in executing or carrying out the decided exercises, etc.
  • Human Resource – Personal trainer, dietician etc
  • Communication – Communication with stakeholder such  trainer, relatives, doctors, friends
  • Risk – Side effects due to Incorrect diet or exercise
  • Procurement – procurement of service from Gym, procurement of equipments and clothing for gym, procurement of specified food, dietician
  • Lesson learned – Understanding methodology of weight reduction and understand importance of diet and exercise

Now in this process we can apply many tools and techniques applicable to Project Management. E.g. we can draw run chart or Statistical Process Control chart to check impact of our food habits on weight e.g. after eating basundi or ice-cream impact can be observed in the form of weight gain on run chart.

Ajay took a big cheesy bite of my pizza and smiled, “So Senthil, still want to mock my PM techniques?” ;)


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  2. Nice to read the articles which have got information about project management as i am being a project manger of a production house for last 2 years so these articles enhances me to do different experiments about my projects.