Ever since I learnt in  lower primary school that germs are ubiquitous, meaning that they are ever present, and seem to be everywhere, pervading life, I have been fascinated by this big English word. The ubiquity of germs fired my imagination as to their nature to enable them to be literally everywhere there is life and  enabled my curious spirit to enjoy science and the marvels of discovery.

When I engaged in a career  as an engineer I quickly learnt that engineering ideas only came to life through projects and project management was a critical tool/mechanism for ensuring the success of engineering ideas and designs.

While the practice of project management seems to be far removed from our everyday endeavours being more closely associated with infrastructure development, buildings and social development, a closer reflection reveals that projects are ever present in everyday and project management as a practice more common than we think.

In fact projects dominate our lifecycle from cradle to grave, especially around significant life milestones. Let us trace our journey from the cradle- from the very moment the expectant mother discovers that she is nurturing a new life in her bosom that will soon come forth, she sets out to prepare for the appearance of this life on earth.  The practical implication of this new life is that the parents must prepare for the new arrival in one way or another. There are details about the expected date of delivery, various pre-natal visits to the clinic, purchase of beddings, clothes and towels and depending on the economic conditions of the parents, the purchase of a baby cot, preparation of a room for the baby, baby showers and eventually the journey to the delivery room. All these activities towards the preparation of a new baby constitute a project, as they consume resources, require to be co-ordinated, have various stakeholders, have a beginning and a clear end in sight when the baby is delivered. God forbid that this should be a failed project where the baby is stillborn.

The next key lifecycle milestone for a full life is usually considered to be the marriage milestone.  Usually it’s the man who does the pursuing of a lady whom he would like to marry, this may involve spending time together to get to know each other and build a relationship. This will usually involve resources. Once the relationship has reached a level where the two consider marriage to be a possibility, they then have to go through the processes of proposals and acceptance, informing and getting consent/blessings from parents, exchange of gifts between parents and eventually some form of ritual that recognises that the two have now become wife and husband.  The activities around a ritual especially consumes resources, requires co-ordination and has an eventual purpose namely the marriage of the two people.

The last significant lifecycle milestone unfortunately does not allow us to be active participants as it is  usually a celebration of our life  on our deathbed. When we die, our significant others go to great extents to ensure that we are given a dignified send off in form of a funeral and memorial service. This in and by itself is a project, as resources have to be marshalled, various stakeholders informed, different activities co-ordinated all geared to the end result of a dignified send off of our beloved.

So in a nutshell we see that Projects   are to be found in all significant lifecycle events from being born, the celebration of birthdays, marriage, baby showers, and eventually our death. The successful hosting of these events/projects will depend on how well we make use of project management principles in working towards their successful delivery. As such those principles are not just meant for ostensibly complicated projects like the development of infrastructure and buildings, but can also add value  in the quality of our lives during the staging of lifecycle events.