Rise Against Hunger was fortunate and excited to be awarded a grant from the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) to have 25 staff members attend a three-day training session on Project Management Essentials to help the organization deepen its impact through more thorough planning and measurement. The grant will also provide Rise Against Hunger the opportunity to work with a PMI-certified consultant to create a Rise Against Hunger Program Management Handbook to use internally and with our partners.
Lance Morrison, Rise Against Hunger Program Monitoring and Evaluation Associate, shared about his experience in the training program:

I told my boss I wanted my own whiteboard.

“Where are you going to put it?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I told her. “But I want one.”

I was excited to use the new tools I learned during the Project Management Institute training program. During a simulation, we wrote deliverables on post-it notes to make a Work Breakdown Structure, or WBS. We did the same for an Activity Breakdown Structure, or ABS. “You’ll do a lot of Breakdown Structures (BSing),” the instructor told us, and it stuck with me.

I thought of all the ways I could apply what I learned to the benefit of my team by taking a more precise approach to our work. We are an ambitious group — we’re passionate, but that can be a double-edged sword. We set lofty goals and idealistic deadlines, but there are only so many of us and so little time.

I came to understand my true project management pitfall is not time, but my perception of time. I often overestimate what I can accomplish in a specific amount of time. I understand my deliverables, but I give myself too little time to accomplish the activities that lead to them.

I got my whiteboard, which leans against the back divider of my desk. At first I BS’d. Suddenly, everything was a project. I drew Work Breakdown Structures (WBS). Then came the Activity Breakdown Structures (ABS), which includes a list of activities with time estimates, and below that, I drew a work plan. I started tracking the time it takes to complete certain activities, and I give myself more time these days. It’s safe to say that I’ve become a project management advocate. My team will be deciding what we want to accomplish next quarter, and you can bet we’re going to BS.

Troy Henson, Community Engagement Manager of Rise Against Hunger’s Lynchburg location, shared his takeaways:

It was interesting to be in class with staff from different departments within the organization and talk with them about how this was going to make them more efficient in doing their jobs.

Things I thought I knew prior to the training course:

  1. Project Management is easy, and this will be a refresher.
  2. I have been doing project management my whole life.

What I learned:

  1. Project Management is not easy, and there are a lot of moving parts to make a project successful.
  2. I learned that what I thought I had been using project management for in my day to day is not what it truly is, however, I did realize that in the most recent years, I have been using project management daily.

Regardless of your area of work, you are likely to use project management every day. Our instructor taught us that each of our meal packaging events is a project, and the way we work through each event falls under project management.

During the class, I had a moment of realization for how I could improve my area of work, and I will be working towards that this summer and into the fall. Knowing the proper way to lay out a project, where to start and who will be directly impacted will allow me to work smarter.

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