Sunday, May 11, 2008

Custom Cars and Project Management

Several weeks ago I was contacted by an automotive instructor at MATC (Madison Area Technical College) about bringing my car in for an automotive career day they were having. I agreed to bring my car in and also at the same time pass on some Project Management knowledge to the ~ 300 high school kids that showed up for the day.

My car, a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle:

During the day many students ask me about my car and what I did for a living. I explained to them that I was a PM and many of the skills I have could be transferred to managing the build up of custom cars or restoring cars. The car hobby in recent years has been popularized by TV shows such as Unique Whips, American Chopper and American Hot Rod. All of these shows have one thing in common. And that is project management of their builds. There is a charter which assigns the project need and a PM, a WBS which is typically a checklist, stakeholders and a timeline. It is then the PM's job to keep the team members on task and motivative.

After I used this analogy the high school kids better understood what I do and many of them commented that they would love to manage a project of building a custom car or motorcycle.

Plant the seed and maybe it will grow...

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