Project Planning Lessons Learned


GB at work in real life, explaining one of her two posters shown at the UWI’s Research Days 2015 on 10 February 2015

In case you didn’t know it, my latest project in life is to take a course in project planning – or Project Management to be more precise, in an effort to keep my little grey cells alive and kicking.  So far, this course has taught me that I live a projectised life.  The degree to which this is a good thing remains to be seen.  All I know at the moment is that I live my life planning one project and then another, scarcely having time to close each off before beginning the next: contrary to proper project planning principles.

As things stand, I have been missing from this site for over two months.  I am sure that no one but me has noticed this because very few persons but me looks in on this site from time to time.  This is an immaterial point because the fact that I do not come here to record my thoughts is no real indication of the degree to which I reflect about the life and times that I am experiencing.

Since coming here last I have been involved in two conferences and a symposium.  I say “involved” because all required me to take action in some way.  In March I participated in the SOBA Conference held by our colleagues at the University of Technology (UTech) for the past 20 years, while in April I planned a symposium about conducting Mixed Research in Jamaican organisations and in May I helped to plan in a significant way, and presented a paper at, the 20th Anniversary Conference of the HRD Unit: Transforming the Profile of Caribbean HRD: Building Global Organisations Locally.  I am happy to say that all of these have been successful events.  Of course, there is a fly in the ointment in it all, our audiences have been small, but I refuse to allow that to detract from the acceptance that the quality of the deliberations.

Why am  speaking about this now?  It is because  have learned something, but as in all good lessons, it leaves open the way for deeper exploration because of the questions that are still left behind.  What I have realized is that I may be an instrument for change in this life, I believe this because I believe that I will always be able to call to a forum subject matter experts that will create illuminating discourse and inspire their audiences.  Beyond this, I believe that I will be able to add to the body of knowledge if I can only get over myself and stop being too depressed to get up out of bed most days.  The presentations being made by the various panelists have confirmed that my instinct is good; indeed it is very good.  I can see problems and create solutions for them almost in my sleep, but without taking my vocation more seriously I will not be able to contribute the empirical knowledge that will be necessary to convince others about the way to go.

It is no secret that I would like to leave this life in a better place than I received it from my forefathers and my project planning and execution efforts are my way of doing this.  I do want to make a mark, but without engaging others in these project planning and execution efforts, be they informants in the research process, be they research partners, be they the managers who will implement my suggested solutions, I will remain forever a voice crying in the wilderness.  If I think about why it is that I remain so frustrated in life then I have to admit that it is because I am going only half of the way toward meeting the mission that I have set for myself.  It is true that I just do what I have to do to get my work done when I have deadlines to meet and little cooperation to get there, but in the long term, who am I helping?

About Gabrielle Burns

I am a Jamaican at play here in this vast playground in cyberspace....Yes, at times I do like to live dangerously, but I AM also working hard at becoming more interesting by the day... :)
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