Have you ever thought of yourself as a project manager? Most don’t, but the reality is we are all project managers to some extent. If you ever find yourself collaborating with others, creatively using your resources, defining and meeting financial objectives, and accomplishing your goals, you might be a project manager. To illustrate this idea, I want to introduce you to homebrewing.
As the wife of a homebrewer I have had the pleasure of consuming the end result of the homebrewing process, as well as seeing parallels with project management. I interviewed my husband Brandon, and his brew partner, Stuart about their brewing process, and I think you’ll see how they are project managers without knowing it.
Stuart and Brandon began as good friends who liked to drink beer together. They eventually decided to venture into homebrewing, and found that there was a meticulous process to follow for their beer to turn out as deliciously as possible.
There are stages to the process- it is both technical and artsy.” -Stuart
In the days that Stuart and Brandon brewed together, they became very creative with the tools that were used to make their beer. Fly fishing nets, crab pot buckets, and bathtubs full of ice were common to their weekend brew-scene. Being creative with their resources allowed them to focus their budget dollars on better beer ingredients, as they were typically drawn toward the more expensive beers that they had recently consumed.
“The smoky porter we made was probably the hardest and most interesting beer to produce. It took many more grains, and included many different types of grains.” -Brandon
As with any process, there were times that environmental errors (such as consuming too many beers on brew day) crept in and were potentially harmful to their finished product. But they didn’t let those factors drag them down- they took it as an opportunity to brew again, ultimately refining their process.
We both screw up. The consequence is that the beer doesn’t turn out as good and we get to make another batch.” -Stuart
Brewing beer alone does not satisfy these guys- they also participate in brew festivals, bring their beer to barbecues and family gatherings, and enjoy reading articles about up-and-coming breweries around the globe.
“I like to read online articles and watch YouTube videos about brewing or breweries.” -Brandon
Brandon and Stuart are Project Managers while brewing. Their comprehensive process of collaborating, using resources, strategizing, budgeting, and continuous learning are key to any project being managed.
FOUR TAKEAWAYS TO CONSIDER AS A PROJECT MANAGER:
#1. Utilizing your resources is key. Use what you have to be successful with your project, and think creatively. Like the fly fishing net and crab pots, resources can be utilized in multiple ways.
#2. Planning and implementing a procedural strategy is vital to your project, as is preparing for risks and outlining corrective actions to take, if (when) those risks occur. Why is all of this important? Because it affects your bottom line- profit. In homebrewing, the risk is a change in the taste of your beer, or at the very worst, the need to make another batch. Unfortunately, the risks can be much higher in business. Learn from homebrewing to follow a process, assign tasks or assign teams, and reduce the risk of error while ultimately increasing your profits.
#4. Meet your financial objectives by following your forecasted budget. If you plan for a $50 batch of homebrew, spend $50. Likewise,if you plan for an employee resource of $50,000, spend only that.
#5. When it comes to furthering the knowledge of your project or company, be like Stuart and Brandon in the way they research and learn. Increase your personal value proposition by participating in professional networking events and educational opportunities related to your business scope.
Homebrewing is both a technical and creative process, just like Project Management. And while there are many business objectives to take away from the art of homebrewing, quite possibly the best part about it is the end – having a great beer to consume. Cheers to that!