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[00:00:51] Welcome to Being Boss podcast for creative business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And in this episode, I'm chatting with project manager, Jackie Cahill on the importance of project management for small businesses,
[00:01:08] even if you're a solopreneur. And diving into the phases of project management, debunking myths and peeling back the curtain to common mistakes to help you embrace the solution to help you bring success to your vision. You can find all the tools, books, and links we referenced on the show notes www.beingboss.club.
[00:01:26] And if you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to this show and share us with your friend.
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[00:02:19] Jackie Cahill is the senior project manager at Biddy Tarot. She leads the team and completing marketing initiatives or product development and other various projects. She also oversees the project management arm of the business, providing training and support to the team. Jackie eats, breathes and sleeps organization, lists and color-coded calendars.
[00:02:39] And it's always been the way. At 10 years old, she was creating a rigorous alibi for her younger siblings to follow over their summer vacations. So you could say she was destined for project management from the start.
[00:02:53] Jackie, welcome to Being Boss. I am so excited to have a project manager on the show today.
[00:02:59] Jackie Cahill: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.
[00:03:03] Emily Thompson: Yeah. We're going to be diving into so many things and I have like a whole setup for us before I get too rambly and too excited about talking about project management. I would love to give you an opportunity to introduce yourself and, and tell us, tell us what it is that you do and how it is that you got to where you are.
[00:03:22] Jackie Cahill: Absolutely. So I am a project manager, primarily I work on marketing project management these days, but you could say I've been a project manager, my whole life, even as a child growing up, I've always loved schedules and lists and color coded calendars. It's a part of my being, so this is kind of the perfect career for me.
[00:03:47] But I started in project management in my first job out of college. My first job, in the corporate world where I worked for a luxury automotive brand as their digital marketing manager. And I say, [00:04:00] that's where I got my start in project management because I was managing marketing projects on a monthly, quarterly basis.
[00:04:08] And I also had to manage a team of digital marketers and business development center agents to make sure that we had everything ready for our monthly campaigns, from advertising creatives to TV commercial shoots and everything in between. So that's really where I got my start, professionally as a project manager.
[00:04:30] And then from there, my husband actually moves all the time for his job. And we actually moved to Italy and lived in Europe for quite a, quite a long time, about four years. And when I was living in Europe, I actually was teaching English as a second language, which let me tell you, teachers are projects managers, curriculum development and scheduling is
[00:04:59] a legitimate difficult job where you have to cram in a lot, in a short amount of time. And so I did that for, for, four years. And, and let me tell you that is where I learned about the other important element of project management, which is the pivot. So oftentimes you can plan everything out and have all of your scheduling, but things go awry.
[00:05:25] And that's especially true in teaching. It's just, aren't understanding a concept or you plan an activity. You think it's going to be 45 minutes long and it ends up being 10 minutes long. So you have to master the art of problem solving in real time. So that definitely helped me to strengthen my problem solving and pivoting skills, which have come in handy in my current job as a project manager, I'm working remotely for Biddy Tarot.
[00:05:54] It's a tarot company. I am so grateful to be there because as I mentioned, my husband moves quite a bit for his job. So I'm able to work remotely and do something that I'm really passionate about, which is helping people learn about tarot and the power of tarot for connecting with your higher self and spiritual growth and development.
[00:06:18] So that's where I am now. And I'm not looking back. I love it there.
[00:06:23] Emily Thompson: I love this story because like all good, like all good bosses. Like there's always this like inkling of what you're going to be great at, like before you even start doing it. So the fact that you were like color-coding and doing all these things before you even started work is like, it's always a good sign that you are like on the path that you're supposed to be on.
[00:06:42] Right. When you can follow that thread since you were a kid, that's a good one.
[00:06:46] Jackie Cahill: Completely.
[00:06:47] Yeah. As a child too, I'm a, I'm one of five. And during our summer vacations, I used to create like summer syllabis for my siblings. Like, [00:07:00] oh yeah. Yeah. I don't know if they always did their homework for me, but yeah, it's always been a part of my personality.
[00:07:11] Emily Thompson: Perfect. Perfect. And, and for anyone who is curious, we have had Bridget founder of Biddy Tarot on the show, a number of times over the past couple of years, she's a very dear friend of mine. So if you want to listen to any of those shows, you're more than welcome to hit up our show notes and we'll include links to all of those there, but I'm excited to talk to you,
[00:07:31] most about project management. I was telling you earlier that, you know, Corey from the Being Boss team works with you at Biddy as well. And he's always like, he's always so excited and impressed to talk about like, just how efficiently and effectively things run and working with a project manager who does things so well is sort of holds us accountable to do better with what we do at Being Boss as well sometimes.
[00:07:52] So, so I'm excited to talk to you about what this looks like and sort of the skills required because, for a long time, I have held true that there are a couple of important skill sets that I think all entrepreneurs need to have at least a basic understanding of period. I think, and you know, there's a couple of different like areas of this.
[00:08:17] Like I think if you're an online entrepreneur, you probably would be well-served to understand the basis of HTML, right? Like. Basics of coding. If you are an entrepreneur, I think you need to know at least the basics of project management. It's one of those skills that will so much bolster your endeavors.
[00:08:40] And creatives often have a really hard time understanding why that's important, right? They're creatives. They want to go out and just do the thing and follow the shiny objects and, and you know, go where their energy is and stop, maybe when they feel they're done with it or whatever it looks like for creatives in whatever field they may be.
[00:09:03] And then also on the flip side of it, I see creative struggling with this idea of, I don't know what to do next. Right. It's something they run into all the time, hearing it constantly. And for me, the answer is project management, right. To play in your projects out. So you'll know what you're doing next. So that's really the place from which I want to chat with you about the importance of project management and really through the lens of even if you're working by yourself.
[00:09:33] Because I think that is so important. With that in mind, if you can give us a definition of what project management is and why you think it's an important skillset to have present in any business, even if it's a solo preneur business.
[00:09:49] Jackie Cahill: Absolutely. So project management is really key to the success of any vision that you have.
[00:09:57] It's how you. Make your vision of reality. So simply put project management is just applying processes skills and knowledge to achieve a project, following a set of parameters, like a budget or a timeline. And I like to use for people who are new to project management. I think using event planners is a really good example to help you understand what a project manager does and what project management is.
[00:10:27] And basically you hire an event planner to help support you in creating event, an event that you have envisioned. And so that's what project managers do. But for any project that you have in mind for any vision, But if you're not working with a project manager and you're just starting out solo that's okay,
[00:10:48] too. Applying the project management processes and skills, it's really important to helping you achieve success and complete whatever your vision is. [00:11:00] If you're working on something by yourself, I would say first and foremost, whenever you have a vision, I think a lot of entrepreneurs get excited about the end deficient and they have this idea in mind, this end goal.
[00:11:13] And then they say, okay, that's the end goal. I'm just going to start doing it every day. Like writing a book, for example. Writing a book, doesn't just start by sitting down and writing and then it's just going to magically happen. The first step is actually planning and scheduling. What does it actually look like to do that?
[00:11:33] So on a day to day basis, how can you take your vision and break it down into smaller parts? So that on the day-to-day you understand, what do you need to focus on today? And then what do you need to focus on tomorrow and next week? And you can set out some major milestones. So for example, let's say your vision is to write a book.
[00:11:53] Well, first and foremost, You have to plan an outline. What is that book going to look like? And you can say, well, how long should I take to do that? Maybe that's going to take you a week or two. And then from there, where do you want to start? Do you want to start by writing chapter one or do you want to start by writing the conclusion?
[00:12:11] And you can map things out by those major milestones. And just sitting down and kind of mapping out, Hey, what are the smaller chunks to bring this to completion is really, what's going to set you up for success. And when you wake up every day, you're not going to spend time going, oh, what should I work on today?
[00:12:29] And wondering about how to even get started, you're going to have. An action plan already there, ready and waiting for you. So even if you're working on your own on a project, just having that plan and that roadmap is really gonna set you up for success, and save you a lot of time because you're not going to have to wonder what you have to do today.
[00:12:49] It's already going to be all laid out there for you.
[00:12:51] Emily Thompson: Yes. I often get questions from bosses wanting to know, like, how was it, how was it that we get so much done? Right. And one of the most important answers is I'm never wasting any time thinking about what I need to do today ever, because I sit down. Once for a project or once for a quarter.
[00:13:09] And I make an entire plan and map out everything that I need to do for everything over the course of, you know, the entire course of whatever window of time I'm looking at. I do that planning one. And then I sit down every day and just look at my to-do list and I start knocking the things off. So I never ever thinking about what it is that I'm doing next, apart from those planning sessions that I have, or having someone on my team who's doing it or whatever it may be.
[00:13:41] But there's a couple of things I want to point out here that I am loving from this. And one is that project management is what ensures the success of a vision. I feel like that's something that can absolutely hit home for anyone who's listening to this, or especially anyone who's struggling with seeing their vision come to fruition because it's quite possible.
[00:14:01] I think that project management is the missing piece of the puzzle. Real project management and not like I kind of started one, like I, you know, I gave it a good go and then, you know, didn't complete the plan, whatever it may be. But I do find that project management is the thing that makes it so much easier.
[00:14:22] To make it to the fulfillment of a vision, in a way that not having a plan and not properly managing any kind of project, would get you. I also love this book idea because this is the perfect illustration for someone who may be a solopreneur, right. Or solopreneur, or you just, you have a team and you just.
[00:14:48] To do something on your own, but you forgotten the importance of project managing for your own personal projects, because that is a perfect example to show that if you want to do something. Big and complex. And it's going to take you no more than 15 minutes of your time or whatever. It may be sitting down for 15, 30 minutes to plan out what the next six weeks looks like for the, you know, completion of this project.
[00:15:17] Something as personal and as, as so low as writing a book is the thing that will help you show up. And make that thing happen, in a way that makes that planning time more worth it than you could ever quantify.
[00:15:34] Jackie Cahill: Totally. Completely. The other thing that I want to mention about planning your projects and the power of doing that is oftentimes when you sit down and you're mapping out your next steps, you realize the things that you forgot in your larger vision.
[00:15:50] The details that actually are really critical to the completion and success of a project or a vision, which when we're thinking big picture, oftentimes we miss those details and that's okay. That's important and big picture thinking. But then when we get into the planning stage, we realized, oh, you know what?
[00:16:08] I actually need to contact an agent about this, or I actually don't know what to do after I finished my manuscript. So it shows you your blind spots and the other steps you may have missed in your vision process. And that helps set you up for success because you realize, oh, actually, part of my process here is learning how to get in touch with an agent and, you know, doing the research and reaching out to people about what happens when I finished my book.
[00:16:44] And you can start thinking about that planning for that earlier on. So that way, when you finish your manuscript, you don't kind of twiddle your thumbs and say, well, great. What do I do now? You've already thought about that. And you've already possibly started speaking with people. So the planning [00:17:00] stage and creating that roadmap also helps you to, to understand what some of those additional steps are that you might not have been thinking about in petitionary process.
[00:17:10] Emily Thompson: Yes. And I have a, like, here's the flip side of that, that I've heard from bosses as well. Sometimes creatives, bosses, business owners, whoever struggle with sitting down to project manage because they're scared of what they don't know. If that makes sense. So they're afraid of getting into the process of project management, because they know that there is like a whole section that they have no idea about.
[00:17:35] They don't know what they need to do for, you know, phase number four. So they don't even get started project managing any of it because they know that there are holes in their knowledge. Can you speak to speak to that mindset at all?
[00:17:51] Jackie Cahill: Absolutely. I think that speaks to our fear mindset. A lot of the time, we are afraid to start something because we are afraid to fail at it.
[00:18:02] And we're afraid of the things that we don't know about. But. The beauty of confronting our fears and facing, oh, actually there is a gap in my knowledge, is that we can overcome that and we can actually be successful in, in our vision because. We're saying, you know, there's actually a gap in my skill here, but this is something I really care about.
[00:18:27] This is a project I really want to pursue. And so I'm going to do what it takes to figure out how to fill that gap or to find someone to help me with that. Or alternatively, you might realize, Hey, I have a gap in my skillset here, or I actually don't know. What to do here and it's causing a block and that block is actually telling me this isn't the project for me right now.
[00:18:52] And this is not what I should be focusing my time and energy on. And that's okay too. And that's important because it's [00:19:00] so much works to start a project and invest your time and energy for hours or weeks or months to then realize that it's actually not something you care about. It's not something. You really want to pursue.
[00:19:16] So in that regard, it helps you to reprioritize and figure out what the projects are that are most important to you and most important to your business. So really facing those fears and confronting those gaps, can be really beneficial in a lot of.
[00:19:33] Emily Thompson: I will say that I use that tactic to see if I'm obsessed with a shiny object, or if it's something that is like real and should be done all the time.
[00:19:45] Like my first step of like, is this a good idea is start project managing. And if I get halfway through it and I'm already tired of it, like I'm already done, I don't want to go any further. That's how I know that that was just a session. Any object that I got really excited about for a minute, but walking through just the process of the project.
[00:20:01] And I'm like, okay, nevermind. I can move on to like the real things that I need to do. But I also love that you touched back on this idea or. Wrap up what you said in the beginning with something that you talked about earlier, and this idea of flexibility and project management. I feel like a lot of people can get really into, like, I'm going to create this project, sort of outline, and I can not deviate, or if there is a hole in my knowledge, like I can't get started or whatever it may be.
[00:20:29] And you talked about this earlier in terms of the pivot, right? Of like something taking less time than you thought or more time and learning to, to pivot what it is, that you have planned. But I also like to use this tactic in terms of things that I don't know in a project. So as I'm mapping out the course of a project, I'll get to a phase where I don't know what happens next.
[00:20:52] And that last task is. Task further, right. Or like create the rest of a plan. So I will do all the steps that I know I need to take, get to the place where now I know now I know what comes next. And then I will complete the, the management of that project or like the creation of that project outline once I get to that place.
[00:21:15] And so I want to sort of debunk this idea that to, to successfully project manage. To know all the things, or you have to be really rigid in your plan, because I think that project management is really most effective when you give yourself the room to pivot or otherwise be flexible both in terms of time, but also in what you know about what happens next.
[00:21:38] Jackie Cahill: I couldn't agree more.
[00:21:41] Being flexible and planning for strategic kind of stopping points is really important in project management. And, you know, when you get into a project planning for, you know, checkpoints and. Decision making points or further planning I found is really, really beneficial because it also can be very frustrating if you have a massive project and you try to plan it out to the team day by day by day for months.
[00:22:18] Let me just tell you that. Something's going to go wrong.
[00:22:21] Emily Thompson: A hundred percent all the time, every single time. It's the only thing that you can
[00:22:27] Jackie Cahill: guarantee something will go wrong. And if you've spent all of that time creating a rigid plan and, and you're you, you think, oh, I thought of every single detail and these are the exact timelines and I'm going to plan this months in advance.
[00:22:44] You're just setting yourself up for more work in the long run because something will change. Things in life will happen. You'll learn more about your project or maybe you'll get, maybe you'll get sick and that will change your timelines completely, you know? And that's that's okay. So being flexible with your plan or planning for, okay.
[00:23:05] You know, I'm going just like you said, I'm going to do this part first because I know what I have to do. And then once they complete that, I'm going to stop. And evaluate and adjust and re you know, plan the next bit. And that's a really productive strategy and one that we often use, especially if you're doing a project you've never done before.
[00:23:28] So if it's not just rinse and repeat and you're trying, you're in totally new territory, that's a really good way to make sure that you're not, you know, setting yourself up for disappointment in the long run. And. We're really making a good use of your time. So I totally am on the same page with that flexibility and pivoting is really important to any project.
[00:23:53] Emily Thompson: Yeah, for sure. And it's funny, you hit on the word there, then that sort of came up for me in the beginning of this idea of disappointment. Like there is nothing more disappointing. That's a lie, there's plenty of things that are more disappointing, but it's incredibly disappointing to create this, this long rigid.
[00:24:10] To planned out, you know, project outline just to have reality happen, right. And for you to have not made, for you to have not either made, built flexibility into it or for you to simply be too attached to it, to go at it in the organic way that literally everything is just going to flow.
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[00:26:02] Emily Thompson: So I'm glad we hit on all of those things. Cause I feel like those are some of those are probably some of the biggest blocks that, that creatives experience, when, you know, when thinking about project managing, especially for projects just for themselves. But I'm wondering if you have, have any sort of tips or like.
[00:26:22] Needed to change anyone's mind, especially as solo preneur, who was like, why would I project manage? What do you think are the biggest reasons that really any business owners should be prioritizing project management?
[00:26:37] Jackie Cahill: Oh man, there's so many pieces. But I would say first and foremost, For your, your own time, you know, your time is limited and valuable.
[00:26:52] You only have so much of it. And when you project manage, you are just maximizing where you're spending your time and you're, you're focusing on the things that matter, right? And by, you know, I know a lot of people are not like me. They're not planners with color coded calendars and that's okay. So, but if it's painful for you, you know, take one painful afternoon to project plan.
[00:27:20] And then that gives you the rest of your time to do what you love best to be a creative, to produce content just by taking that time in the beginning, you're actually opening up so many more hours for yourself, in the future and that in and of itself. The other thing that I would say when it comes to people who are entrepreneurs and business owners is just looking at where you're spending.
[00:27:51] Resources financially to, if you don't project manage, you can have a lot of wasted waste, just wasted finances, to be honest, because maybe your team is working on something and then you scrap it. Think of all of that time and money wasted, or you're just not focused and you're not able to produce anything.
[00:28:13] That's going to produce revenue for your business in the longterm. And you're just grinding your wheels and. You're emptying, emptying your budget, and not getting anything in return. So project management also helps you from the financial aspect of, of operating your business and making sure that you're spending your money wisely and that the work that you're doing is coming back to you so that you can continue to support your vision in your, you know, your business, what you love doing.
[00:28:41] Emily Thompson: Yeah. I also want to add on this idea. Brain space, because I think like when we start, you have a business where you're adding some personal projects, you know, you're moving across the country. I don't like whatever's happening. If you don't take the time. Two project managers to like, get all the things out, to map them out, to know, to know what needs to be done, but also along the course of a project, to know where you are in a project, especially if you have multiple, you are working with you, you know, you don't know if this blog post has been done or aware in the, you know, process of this other project you are.
[00:29:18] And if everyone's doing their jobs or whatever, it may be. Even just all of those sentences, think about all the brain space that all of those things take up. If you don't have things sort of centrally located in a place where, you know, what needs to happen next, you know where everyone is in a project, you simply know where the project is.
[00:29:39] You don't have. Think about it. I mean, I mean times is, you know, is anyone listening to this woken up in the middle of night and that's sort of like sit up straight, like, where is this thing that I'm doing? Like, have I done it, did someone do it? Is it getting done? I've definitely had that happen. And if it happens, I just open up our project management software and I go find the thing.
[00:30:01] And then I know, that doesn't actually happen to me not anymore. But it, it gives you back. So much brain space to focus on your creativity, on serving your customers and clients on doing the growth things in your business, or otherwise just like sleeping or living your life. Right. When you have taken the time to project manage.
[00:30:29] I even like in this idea of, you know, sitting down and doing the painful thing of project management, if you're that person that really struggles with this it's, it's like paying your bills. Right? Like we all do things that are not necessarily fun all the time, because we know how important it is to do them add project management to that list of things.
[00:30:49] Jackie Cahill: Yeah. Completely
[00:30:51] Emily Thompson: for sure. Okay. So next question for you. I want to dive into like what it actually looks like to start cultivating a project management skillset. So I'm wondering from you, what are the top supporting skills that you identify as being important for, for project managing?
[00:31:12] Jackie Cahill: Well, first of all, I would say that.
[00:31:17] Oh, it's hard. It's hard.
[00:31:21] Emily Thompson: So many important ones.
[00:31:25] Jackie Cahill: Okay. But all right, I got it. I would say first and foremost, negotiating and compromise are actually going to be some of the most important aspects of project management. And this is something that a lot of people don't talk about. We love to talk.
[00:31:41] Scheduling and planning. But negotiating and compromise are actually going to be really important to the success of a project. Because. No matter what it is that you're looking to create. You have to have a priority, whether that be cost, time or quality and getting clear on what is most important to you is going to help set you up for success.
[00:32:12] And I think that a lot of times we're projects become frustrating or were projects fail or routine members get, you know, agitated in a project is when. We're not willing to compromise on either any of those things and it becomes unrealistic. So I like to use wedding planning as a really good example of this, because most people out there want to have that, you know, hundred thousand dollar beautiful wedding with all the bells and whistles and you know, the band and the tent and the $5,000 designer dress.
[00:32:52] But the reality is. Your budget constraints, those things. So you have to decide what is most important to you at the beginning of a project and negotiate on that. So you need to ask yourself always, is it costs. Is that most important here? My budget, is it my timeline? Do I need to get this done by a certain date?
[00:33:18] Or, or is it the quality of work that's produced? What's more important to you and by having that clearly laid out at the beginning of a project, you're really going to set yourself up and your team for success, because then you can have those questions, like, okay, well, what's more important to you. Is it having the white roses that are more expensive?
[00:33:40] Or is it just having a nice array of flowers, even if those are wild flowers, it'll help you to better make decisions as you get into your project. So understanding that at the beginning and being willing to negotiate and compromise will help you not be a bride Zilla in your project because you'll be more [00:34:00] realistic and that will set you up for success.
[00:34:02] And if you're working with the team, then your team, will be set up for success as well. The other thing that I would say is really important in project management. And it's going to set you up for success is having really strong communication, especially if you're working with a team or working with other people.
[00:34:20] So making sure that your priorities are clear, your timelines are clear and the expectations of your team members are really clear. A lot of times I see entrepreneurs and visionaries come in and they get the team really excited about the end goal and the end vision. And then they say, okay, go ahead and meet.
[00:34:41] And the team gets really excited and they say, okay, we're going to go do this. Great. And then, you know, a month goes by and they say, okay, we made, we made these things. We've been working really hard. And, you look at what your team has done. And you say this, none of this is what I had in mind, or we have to do.[00:35:00]
[00:35:01] A lot of editing here and three rework, and that can put your timelines at risk. So making sure to have clear communication with your team, from the onset of a project with regular checkpoints. So everybody is just crystal clear on what their role is, what you're trying to create. And, and that you're checking in to make sure that that's actually happening before a lot of work gets done.
[00:35:26] And then you say, oh, we have to actually redo. So I would say those are probably going to be. Some of the most important skills to cultivate, as you start getting into project management, strong communication and ability and ability to compromise, is going to help set you up for success, for sure.
[00:35:46] Emily Thompson: That is the most unexpected first one I was, and I love it because you're totally right. And what that really even plays back to is that idea of flexibility, right? Any sort of rigidity and project management is good. It's gonna mess you up. It's gonna mess you up. So that plays into that really well.
[00:36:07] And then absolutely. Yes, the communication piece. So your illustration there, so right on point, I always tell. Whenever they do get to the phase, especially where they are just pulling other people into the project, their role, even chefs, to be one that their responsibility is to get out of their head, everything that is in their head to the people who are assisting them.
[00:36:34] So, so that's such a, such a great second skill set as well. Both of which are incredibly important and I'm also loving. That you didn't say organization, even though I know that's an important skillset, right? It wasn't organization, or like the ability to color code or any of those things. Just very practically negotiating slash compromise and otherwise communication.
[00:36:56] Do you feel like with those things, like those are really the foundation for everything else kind of falling into place?
[00:37:03] Jackie Cahill: Honestly, I do. I think that they're the most important aspect. If you understand what your priorities are in a project and you're willing to compromise when things need to shift and change, you're able to communicate that clearly with your team, you're going to be set up for success, color, coded timelines and calendars aside.
[00:37:24] Those are helpful tools, but they're not. They're not always necessary. To a successful project. And I love to use wedding planners as a perfect example of this, because I think that, you know, it's a short timeframe, so you can illustrate really well how this works in real time, but you can plan for the most perfect wedding and you can have all your color coded calendars and everything, but you can't plan for.
[00:37:50] Whether someone being sick, table people not showing up and table having to shift in real time, but what makes an excellent wedding planner is someone who's able to take what you get and make it work anyway. And the only way to do that is just willingness to compromise to problem solve and to communicate with the team to make sure, okay, it's raining outside.
[00:38:14] We're going to take all these chairs and we're going to move them under this pavilion here. Okay. We've got some people who called out sick. I'm going to take our beautiful table arrangements that we made months ago, and I'm going to shift some names in real time. That's what's going to actually set you up for success.
[00:38:30] So I would say it's more important in the long run.
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[00:39:28] I want to look at now, the parts of our project are really, and my question, if I'm wording this question incorrectly, run with this and whatever way you need to, but what are the parts of managing a project that you believe everyone should follow through on? Even if they're working solo.
[00:39:50] Jackie Cahill: So there are many phases to project management that I think are beneficial for everyone to follow.
[00:39:56] Whether you're working with the team or you're working solo. The first phase is going to be your initiation phase. And this one is probably the most fun. This is that visionary phase. This is where you get to dream your project into life and picture. Okay. What is the end result that I want to create?
[00:40:18] What does that look like? You know, What is the ultimate goals of that? And that's a really fun phase that I know a lot of creative entrepreneurs like to dive into and spend the most amount of time in. And it is really important to get clear on that initiation of a project in that vision. After initiation, you should go into project planning, which is where you get more specific about the roadmap and the steps to make your vision a reality.
[00:40:48] And this is what we've been talking about a lot in this conversation, it's understanding, you know, what are the major milestones? What are the smaller steps that are needed to make my vision a reality? And then you [00:41:00] can start asking those more detailed questions about things. Cost and quality and time.
[00:41:05] So do I have a budget constraint? Do I have a time constraint? What am I willing to compromise on? What am I not? And are there any risks? This is another thing that's really important in planning. Is there anything that could. Go wrong that I can plan for now and prepare for now. You're not going to think of all your risks.
[00:41:27] There are things that you won't, you know, you could never plan for, but it is helpful to understand that, you know, going into any project, there are always going to be some risks that you can plan for. So that's your next phase? And then after that, you get to get into the fun part, which is developing your project.
[00:41:46] And this is where you get to be creative and you get to start making content and. Doing all of the, the fun work behind it and seeing your vision start coming to life piece by piece, and then it's time for your project to go live. But there is one phase before you go live with something, which is also very important that everybody.
[00:42:08] Do, and that's kind of your go live prep phase, which is quality assurance checking. So it's going back to your original plan and just making sure that your I's are dotted and your T's are crossed, you know, you've checked for spelling and grammar and you know, if you're. Like I am in digital marketing that your links are working and that your page is broken.
[00:42:35] All of those things. That's really important because if you are, you know, if you've done your quality assurance checks, You're going to your goal. Life phase is going to be a lot smoother. And then you actually go live and, and I like to have a checklist for my go live. I like to think of this as like your clipboard phase.
[00:42:57] You know, you, you go live, you make sure that everything is. Going, according to plan, and then you monitor it a lot of the time, depending on the type of project that you do, but you might have some data monitoring that you're you need to do. Or if it's a project that lasts over a longer period of time, you're checking in and making sure that everything's going according to plan and fixing things.
[00:43:19] If they break and pivoting, if things aren't going to plan. So that's your go live. And then you're ready to close it out. And this is something that I think is actually really important that a lot of people don't do, which is the post-implementation review of a project. And even if you're working by yourself and you've done a project all on your own, I do think that this phase is really.
[00:43:46] Because it's going to help set you up for success in your next project. And basically with a post-implementation review, all you're doing is reflecting on your project and how it went and thinking about what [00:44:00] was really successful and why it was successful. And how can you do that again in the future?
[00:44:05] And if things didn't go according to plan, why was that? How could you approach that differently in the future? So it's not about critiquing your project by any means. It's about learning from what you've just done so that when you go and do it again, you're even more prepared and you know, where the hard spot spots are, so you can try something different.
[00:44:30] So those are the main phases for any project. And again, if you're working with a team or you're working on your own, I think it's really beneficial for everyone to follow this.
[00:44:40] Emily Thompson: Agreed. That was a beautiful outline of those phases. The one I there's one place that I wanted to sort of interject my experience with bosses and specially creatives or someone who may be working with a team for the.
[00:44:57] Through 10th time, I would say like one of those things you, you need to learn early on, and that is this idea of the differentiation between that initiation phase and then the actual like planning phase and my illustration or the thing I want to point out. Is I oftentimes totally guilty of this being in the sort of dreamy initiation phase and as creatives will do, just throwing out all of the ideas, right?
[00:45:26] All of the possibilities, all of the quirky, like ideas that you have about how you can do it and what it can look like and what you can include and all of these things. And then not being clear as to what. Good idea and what actually needs to happen because oftentimes what will happen is you'll then maybe someone else is going into that planning phase.
[00:45:50] And they're like, okay. She went in here with like 47 different ideas and it's going to take us 47 years to get it done. But like, here's the plan because you weren't super clear as to like what was just spit balling. Right. And what actually makes it into the final. That is one place that I see creatives getting hung up often with working, when working with a team is just like really embodying that visionary and forgetting to like, bring it home with like, okay, those were all great ideas, but here's the four that we're actually going to implement.
[00:46:23] Jackie Cahill: I am so glad you brought that up because that absolutely all the time, all the time. And it is really important to make that distinction between initiation and planning, planning is also your time to call and. Figure out what is a nice to have in your project and what is a neat to have. And this is often where during the planning stage, you have a kickoff meeting.
[00:46:50] If you are working with a project manager, and this is where project managers are, are so beautiful to have is they come in and our role is to interview you basically to help you with that calling process. And get really clear on what is a nice to have versus a need to have. So if you're working on your own, you can ask yourself those questions.
[00:47:13] Okay. What's a nice to have here and a need to have a, but if you're working with a project manager, the planning phase is where your project manager actually enters the project. And then the two of you can work together and collaborate. To figure out the vision together. And this is, I have a list of questions that I always ask during this phase.
[00:47:34] There are a lot of them, and this is where that, negotiating really happens where you say, okay, Is this more important to you? Or is that more important to you? If I had to take this project and cut it in half, what would that look like? And that's a really helpful process to set you up for success.
[00:47:57] That's where project managers can be a godsend, because they can also help advise you a lot of the time, especially if you're working on a project that maybe you've never done before, and you hire a project manager who specialized in that area, they can help advise you for some of those things, because
[00:48:15] you know, you might say, okay, well, great. I have this book idea and I'm going to write this book. And these are all of the, I've already outlined all of the chapters and this is what it looks like. And your project manager might come in and say, okay, great. Well, I've helped with a lot of book deals in the, in the past.
[00:48:32] And, I think we might want to cut about five chapters here. Let me explain to you why it's going to make you this book more appealing to a publisher. Or they might say, Hey, if you're working on something like in the digital marketing, You might have this whole idea of how you're going to build out this webpage while you bring in a project manager who has experienced working with backend and front end developers, they might say to you, I can see this vision that you have, and we can definitely build it, but it's going to take two months and we're going to have to hire a bunch of contractors here.
[00:49:12] Is this a must have, or is this dream ultimate state, because then you can start saying, oh, you know what? I actually don't need that. And I don't need that. And I don't need that. And that's going to be very helpful for you. So yeah, planning is not just scheduling. It's also cutting back and compromising, and that's a really important to seek and to make I'm so glad you brought that up.
[00:49:35] Emily Thompson: It's a mess. I've caught myself in a couple of times, which is why I bring it up, but it's also something, you know, it's the plight of the creator. Too many ideas. And I've, I've several times found my team going, but like, was that just an idea or do you really want us to do it? I'm like, that was just, that was just an idea.
[00:49:55] And I want to add one more thing to this and this idea of thinking of projects in phases as well, or like, thinking that. If you need to call a couple of your favorite pieces of this one to maybe get it done within budget or within the timeframe that you needed or whatever, it doesn't mean that you can never have those things you had to get rid of.
[00:50:13] It may just be something that happens in phase two of the project that happens in six months, right here from now, or whatever it may be. That's a really great way to, of, of approaching that compromise that we've been talking about.
[00:50:26] Jackie Cahill: Absolutely. Absolutely. I was just going to say, we've been talking a lot about kind of more traditional project management.
[00:50:34] Styles and approaches, which I find really helpful, especially if you're new to project management, but something that's becoming more and more popular is agile project management silos, which really helps you to do things a little bit faster in real time. So that you are doing things in smaller chunks and periods.
[00:50:55] So, there's this great website it's called scrum.org, that the founders of scrum created, which is modern day agile project management methodology. But the idea behind it is basically, you know, you can do your project in small bursts of time and do a little less, is more. And then what you do is you take the learning from what you've heard.
[00:51:21] To kind of help determine what is next as well. So as an entrepreneur and a visionary, you may think, oh, well I think that this is going to be the ultimate solution. And so I want to do this next part in phase two, but you release phase one of your project and realize, oh, your customers actually, aren't interested in that.
[00:51:40] They want more. Something else that you work towards. So you can then scrap what you thought was going to be part of your project to focus more on what your customers are looking for and what they appreciate. So that's also something to keep in mind, especially if you have a really big vision for how to approach it and how to kind of chunk down that work and focus on what your customers actually want.
[00:52:04] Emily Thompson: Perfect. That is a perfect segue into this sort of wrap up question for us. And that is, I feel like every time we talk about project management, what people most want to know is resources and in particular tools. So I'm wondering what are some of your favorite resources and tools that, that would help creative business owners be better project managers?
[00:52:27] Jackie Cahill: Absolutely. Well, first of all, I love a good project management software that is really going to help set you up for success when you're planning. And you're looking at timelines and trying to figure out steps. There are so many great softwares out there personally. I really like Asana, but there's also Trello and many other ones that are free.
[00:52:49] So I highly recommend getting a project management software. And then personally, I'm a, I'm a tourist, I'm a bit of an analog person and I cannot tell you how much I love just a good old pen and paper, a notebook, a calendar. I'm still a color code, color coded person. So highlighters and pens. I find that
[00:53:13] super helpful in any project planning, just getting kind of thoughts on paper and taking a look at things that way. If you're not analog like me, there's also taught flares out there that you can do the same thing like notepad. It's really helpful, especially as you're kind of brainstorming and mapping things out.
[00:53:33] And then if you're new to project management and you're kind of wanting to learn a little bit about, project management, best practices and how you can get started project managing, I really love a girl's guide to project management. It's a free website. She has amazing resources. She sends out weekly newsletters, so there's a lot of great content on there and I love following.
[00:53:58] And then, like I mentioned, scrum.org which was created by Jeff Sutherland and his partner who are the founders of Scrum, which is a very agile project management style. I would recommend going there, and then there were plenty of other, if you just Google project management resources, there are lots of amazing resources out there available for you.
[00:54:18] So those are some of my favorite.
[00:54:21] Emily Thompson: Love some good resources. I will say we are Asana users here at Being Boss as well. We've talked about it on the show. Many times they are not sponsors, but always welcome them. I'm huge fans. And then thank you so much for bringing up pen and paper, because oftentimes like in, you know, the Being Boss community will sort of go through it.
[00:54:39] Like, what are, what tools are you using? And there's always that boss in the room, who's just like, who holds up their notebook and almost like, a shameful look on their face, like I just use a pen and paper. I'm like, I love that for you just as effective for sure. Use what works for you. Totally perfect.
[00:54:58] Jackie, this has been an absolute treat. I'm so glad that you came to talk to me about project management. This is one of those topics that like, there's like one group of bosses who will just like get so excited and talk project management all day, every day. And for every one of those, there's a boss
[00:55:17] who's like, can we just not. You just don't even want to talk about it. So I'm hoping that for the group, for the group that loves it, I hope this is just like ear candy. That's like here's, here's, here's more project management talk. And for anyone who's in the group who can't even, I hope this has encouraged you,
[00:55:37] this has encouraged you to at least get started with a little project in your life or work to see the benefits of it. And I guess to sort of wrap us up, do you have any like words of advice or like encouragement to anyone who is in that second camp? Who, who is still like, but do I have to.
[00:55:58] Jackie Cahill: Totally. I would say that, you know, don't think of project management, like your taxes, think of it as another creative endeavor, because it really is at the end of the day, you're looking at your vision and how you can make it happen.
[00:56:15] And that is something to be excited about. It's the, how you get there. And. Fun most of the time, it really can be. And it doesn't have to be a super rigid process. Like I was saying earlier, as long as you have strong communication, if you're clear on what you want to create and you're flexible, you will be set up for success.
[00:56:37] So if you start incorporating those into your project planning, maybe it'll be a little bit more fun for you.
[00:56:44] Emily Thompson: Perfect. Perfect. Agree with all of that. Thank you so much, Jackie, last question for you is what makes you feel most boss?
[00:56:54] Jackie Cahill: What makes me feel
[00:56:55] most boss? Oh, that is, that's a tough question, but I guess, I don't know.
[00:57:03] There's nothing like seeing a project come to completion and be success. It is an amazing feeling to finish something and achieve your goals. That is what makes me feel most boss.
[00:57:19] Emily Thompson: Well, if that's not the testimony for project management that everyone needs, I don't know what's going to talk you into it. Jackie, this has been a treat.
[00:57:29] Thank you so much.
[00:57:30] Jackie Cahill: Thanks so much for having me. This has been so much fun.
[00:57:36] Emily Thompson: All right boss, because you're here. I know you want to be a better creative at business owner, which means I've got something for you. Each week the team at Being Boss is scouring the news the best entrepreneurial publications and updates and releases of the apps and tools that run our businesses and is curating it all into a weekly email that delivers the must know tips and tactics in the realms of mindset, money and productivity.
[00:57:59] This email is called Brewed. We brew it up for you each week to give you the insight you need to make decisions and move forward in your creative business. Check it out now and sign up for yourself at beingboss.club/brewed. That's beingboss.club/B R E W E D. Now until next time, do the work be boss.