Project Practitioners > Year-End Inventory

Year-End Inventory

By Sinikka Waugh

By Sinikka Waugh, Project Coach at Your Clear Next Step

As the year draws to a close, and we begin to look ahead at all that next year will hold, I'd like to suggest a quick assessment of our inventory.  Businesses everywhere close their doors for a couple of hours or days to take stock of what they have, before going in to the New Year.  As project professionals, I propose we do the same, where we count some things that may be a little less tangible, but no less critical to our success. 

I've listed these in an order that goes something like easiest to hardest to evaluate, and by doing so, I discovered they also seem to fall roughly in order of increasing importance in my book.

Projects – What projects did I work on this year?  Large or small, personal or professional, volunteer or as part of my work...what was the nature of the projects I participated in?  What was the technical or inherent complexity of the projects, and how did that impact my ability to deliver successfully?  What knowledge or insights did I gain from working on projects this year that will help me in the years to come?  What industry or line of business did I work in this year, and how did that impact my project experiences?

Tools – Which tools did I use this year for planning, activity tracking, budget management, issue & risk management, communication, status reporting.  Did they work?  What improvements did I make to them over the year, or should I make next year?   Did I rely more heavily on any specific tool than others?  What implications did that have on my work?  If all I had was a hammer, was everything I encountered a nail?  Did I add any new tools to my toolbox this year?  How did they work out for me?  In what circumstances or projects are they appropriate?  What changes should I make next time I use them? 

Skills – What skills or strengths did I rely on heavily this year?  What gaps did I find that I was able to work through, or that I still need to work on?  If I were to update the “skills” section in my resume or professional profile, what should be highlighted after this year?  What skills do I need to focus on next year?  What’s my plan for improving those skills?  Are there any new technologies, processes, or methodologies I learned this year or I need to consider next year?

Relationships – Who did I interact with this year?  What new relationships did I build, and how am I helping to grow the relationship and add value to it?  How did I treat the people I care about, respect, admire, and appreciate?  Do they know that I value them?  Do my team members know I appreciate them?  What relationships ended for me this year?  Was it deliberate or accidental?  Are there any relationships that suffered this year because my attention was focused somewhere else?  What relationships should I focus on for next year, and what actions will I take to ensure that they are a priority?

Regrets – What regrets do I have from this year?  What words did I say or actions did I take that I wish I hadn't?  What did I learn from those mistakes, and how will I prevent myself from making them again?  Have I made it as right as I can?  What didn't I do that I should have done?  What actions didn't I take, or what words didn't I say...what opportunities did I miss?  How can I make it right in the year ahead?

Blessings – What do I have to be grateful for – those things I haven't earned, don't deserve, but still have around me?  The successes that have been celebrated, the failures that have been overlooked, the people who have helped me move forward, the opportunities and experiences that have helped me grow?  Taking the time to count our blessings can set us in a great frame of mind to see what the new year has in store.

Here's wishing you a wonderful season of reflection, filled with peace and joy, and with ample opportunities to consider your inventory!

Not all comments are posted. Posted comments are subject to editing for clarity and length.

Nicely written! This is a good list, and delivered at a good time of year. Best of luck to you in the new year and projects!

Randa, Thanks for reading, and for commenting! I hope your inventory review brings you a great sense of accomplishment over 2009, and a sense of purpose and focus for 2010. -Sinikka

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