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Week 4. The Project Managers training blog by Paul Bradley SPOCE MD

Week 4: This week Paul gives us a PMs update on the training AKA, 'The Project.' Find out how things are progressing and what happens when he is faced with the temptation to exceed tolerance (not always a bad thing). He also runs through the potential project life cycles for 'Project Marathon.' But which life cycle approach has he chosen in this instance and why? 

24th July 2022 - Marathon day minus 10 weeks

Issues and Life Cycles

I have been making the transition from metric to imperial on my Strava account, and have completed 33 miles this week (a 10% increase on last week).

The week began on Monday with the usual 8 miles around the harbour. I completed it 2 minutes faster than the previous week and 5 minutes faster than the first time. This is becoming a good speed workout with measurable improvement.

What if want to exceed tolerance?

I will set a criteria of an average pace of 8 minutes per mile within the next 2 weeks on this route. Wednesday morning is usually 5 miles, but my step-son Harley asked if I'd like to join him on a half-marathon run. A half marathon is 13.1 miles, so with my 5 miles originally planned, this presented me with an issue that meant I would exceed tolerance. I therefore escalated this to Coach, who gave me his ad hoc direction and said I could run the first 6 miles of the half marathon, but to save my legs for the long run on Friday.

I took his advice (sort of) and ran just under 8 miles. Issue closed.

My long run on Friday was 17 miles and the furthest I have ever run in one session. I had plenty of time to contemplate this project and was reflecting on the blog I wrote last week about the project life cycle.

The project life cycles

Typically there are two types of project life cycle - Linear (waterfall) and Iterative (agile). Linear is designed for predictive projects where information about the final output of the project is known. By contrast, iterative is designed for adaptive projects where information about the final output will become clearer as the project progress.

What approach have I chosen for my output?

This Marathon project could be run as either. With clear measurable criteria for the output (me) defined at the beginning, we should be able to plan and build a product that is ready for release by 2nd October. I feel though that the iterative approach is best suited to this particular project.

Using an agile approach will typically see the product developed on an iterative or incremental basis. Iterative is concerned with improving the product with each evolutionary development. Incremental is concerned with adding features to the product with each evolutionary development. Combining these two is considered to be the best scenario for progress.

What's next?

So on we go with the training. Next week I'll be looking at improving my average pace on the Monday 8 miles.

As for the blog, I'll be taking a look at quality, and introducing some thoughts on communication.

Help the cause and get free APM training

In addition to Paul's London Marathon he will also be using his skills as a project management trainer to raise funds. For the next 2 months APM PFQ and APM PMQ (live ONLIVE virtual classroom or On Demand) will be absolutely FREE! All we ask is that you make the required charitable donation in exchange to Paul's JustGiving page. Find out more by visiting our funding page in aid of Sense charity. 

About Paul Bradley

Paul Bradley is a leading authority on project management methods and techniques. With over 25 years in the industry, Paul's knowledge and experience is respected by clients, accreditation bodies and training organisations globally. Paul has been the Managing Director of SPOCE since 2005, and is an accredited trainer for PRINCE2®, APM and AgilePM®. He is a regular presenter at seminars, providing information on project implementation drawn from his expertise as an accredited Axelos P3M3® Consultant. He has had two books published to enhance the training and use of PRINCE2®.

Paul Bradley Just Giving Page