For those of you that know me I am super organised, so when it came to planning our wedding last year I was in my element.
As we walked down mountain Ben Vrackie in Pitlochry post-engagement in April 2014 we had already started making plans, verbalising our project charter and scope, and set the date for the summer of 2014 – only 5 months away. We soon identified our first challenge in that we didn’t have much time, a bit like when your manager says “I need that new product running on the line in 2 months’ time, at full productivity with no quality defects…”. The pressure was on.
Considering the bank of tools and techniques I’ve employed with clients, I resolved that the first stage of the project was to build a schedule in the form of a Gantt chart (yes that really happened) with actions, owners and deadlines. I even used conditional formatting to highlight if a task was done, in progress or not done…
The budget was the next big decision, planning a wedding isn’t about saving money (an obvious focus when we consult with our clients), but it is about being sensible and ensuring that money is prioritised towards what is important, rather than frivolous extras. With pie charts, we were able to understand where the biggest spends would be, and look at ways to reduce these and make sure they remained within the original budget… although the cost of my wedding dress remains a mystery to my husband.
With Gantt chart in hand and a verbalised Project charter, we had weekly Skype calls with our key stakeholders (parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen) for a wedding ‘catch up’ (an informal Project status update report), ensuring that their tasks were completed and there were to be no surprises on the big day – my dad still managed to catch me out by organising my sisters, sister-in-law and best friend to sing ‘The Rose’ during the signing of the register.
The other essential was managing parent’s expectations and demands – that ever-so-tricky guest list: who to invite, which cousins to draw the line at, were we going to invite parents’ friends? Sounds somewhat similar to managing our stakeholder’s expectations during a project doesn’t it? We managed this by communicating early and ensuring everyone understood our reasoning, with a little help in the form of a church with small capacity.
Delegating effectively proved invaluable, so with time constraints, a budget, tricky suppliers and stakeholders, wedding planning can really be likened to managing a project within a business.
Did the wedding come off? Of course it did – best day of our lives!
By Sally Wood, Coriolis Consulting Pty Ltd
Picture credit: James Charlick Photography