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Downsizing: Lessons from a project manager

It's near the end of July, and I've spent most of the summer on a personal project. Downsizing. Not the type of downsizing that corporations and employees fear. Downsizing from a 3,000 square foot house in the country, with over 50 acres, to a two-bedroom condo apartment in downtown Ottawa. That was an interesting project. As I completed it, I realized how much my work in project management has helped me in my personal projects.

My project management skills helped me to negotiate with the buyer and get to a price that both the buyer, and myself as the seller could feel positive about. The downsizing of the contents of the house included conducting an as-is assessment of the contents, and a to-be future state (what I wanted to move). This leveraged my business analysis skills. Once that was completed, I had to then identify a longer term solution for my future state (a place to move to). Then I could start the list of activities, sequences and timelines to get everything done on time (closing date).

Of course, there were risks (buyer house sale, buyer financing), issues (things that nobody wanted to buy like pianos), and changes (additional conditions, rescheduling of vendors). My project management training helped me take all of these in stride, and quickly articulate and modify my actions as a result.

In the end, my project closeout (house closing) was relatively smooth and uneventful, and although there were stresses, I know that my project management skills (and Microsoft One Note) helped throughout.

Gary Scherling, PMP, PMOC, PSP
PMI OVOC Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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