January 19, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Closing a project prematurely – is it right?

By Simon Beuhring

Closing projects prematurelyHave you ever worked on a project which lost sight of its goals? Or worse, worked on a project where the goals were never clearly defined?

If so, then join the club of projects which have been a waste of money.

Recipe for disaster

Too many times projects are started based upon loosely defined objectives. The most important stakeholder on a project – the sponsor – authorizes such projects and then sits back thinking their job is done. Project managers are then left with the job of delivering the project, often without further input from the sponsor. This is a recipe for disaster.

Business justification

A fundamental principle of project management is that a project must have continued business justification. Without it, you are guaranteed to waste both precious time and money.

This means that the sponsor must be involved from the very beginning in defining the reasons for doing the project. This means being clear about the business problem(s) you are facing, or the business opportunity which is presenting itself.

Business Case is the key

The most important of all project documentation is the Business Case. This document outlines the reasons for doing the project and the expected benefits which will result from the project. It should contain an investment appraisal where the costs and risks are weighed up against the expected benefits.

Deliverables help realise benefits [Read more…]

Memorable Project – Past Forward

A novel approach to preserving memories before it is too late

By Lisa Chait

Picture the scene:  It’s 2054 and a 15 year old somewhere in the world is putting the final touches on his family tree for a school project.  He goes online using the latest version of the iPad (can you imagine it?) and types in his mother’s maiden name.  Google throws up a few bits and pieces but one particular find catches his eye. It’s a YouTube clip of an interview with a woman who somehow looks familiar.

He has already used Geni.com to get a broad layout of who is who in his ancestry.  With the amazing reach of the Internet and input from others around the globe – each contributing data and photos – the grid is rich and full.

The woman whose interview Google has found is, according to the tree, his great, great, great, great grandmother. It is the very first time he has come across her.  Excited, he clicks the link … and watches her come alive.

‘Dear family’, I am your ancestor and I know most of you watching this will never meet me because I will be long gone.

But I want to tell you my Life Story because it is who I am.  And more importantly, it is who you are and where you come from.‘
Life Stories Project

Memorable Project

The clip is part of the Life Stories Project that was started in 2010.  Essentially what this memorable project does, is to record memories so that clients can have a record of the stories and personalities of their ancestors for future generations. Simply put, it helps people Talk Across Time.

People record their parents, grandparents, colleagues or friends stories and sometimes their own Life Stories are captured as a family legacy for their children and children’s children.

These stories offer a window into a world that will be lost forever with their passing. And they also magically take you back into the locations, stories and personalities of their parents, grandparents and even great grandparents. They have a precious key into the past that will now be preserved forever through their telling.  It is about recording history NOW for future generations.  Not leaving it until it is too late and we are left saying, ‘We should have’ or ‘I am so sorry we didn’t.’

The Life Stories Project team consists of researchers, interviewers, camera people and sound recordists, commissioned to record peoples lives and then edit them into beautifully watchable or readable experiences (DVD, Audio and written). The team trawls through amazing photographs and old film, discover letters, documents and fascinating mementos. They ask questions and get wonderful, moving, funny and poignant answers, supporting people to share what is most precious – the story of their lives.

The project goal is to create thousands – even tens of thousands – of conversations across time and geography that are archived forever on DVD, CD and in text. But also available online on open or private platforms so that they don’t get lost and are accessible and sharable at the click of a button.

It doesn’t matter how you do it! Use a cellphone to record, sit down after dinner or go and visit a family member. Just take something down. Anything! Or consider using the Life Stories Project team to come and handle it for you.  Don’t regret not having captured your heritage.

In terms of the project vision, the team doesn’t look for lives worthy of blockbuster scripts, or ones that publishers might consider bestsellers. The project supports wonderful regular folk whose story is important and fascinating because of its intrinsic and genealogical value.  Every life is important – and even more so when the family wants to capture it.  The simple idea is to help people share these stories with the future. And it is the greatest privilege to do so.

To find out more about Life Stories please visit: www.lifestories.co.za

And remember to let us know in the comments what you think of this project!

About Lisa Chait

Lisa Chait is a former history teacher and radio talk show host. More recently she has co-produced, written and presented the SABC3 television and online seriesI Am Woman Leap of Faith (www.iamwomanseries.com). At last count it had 38 000 online viewers. Lisa has sat up a pole for charity at the V & A Waterfront raising R1.2 million for the prevention of child abuse. Lisa is also the passionate founder and project director of Life Stories www.lifestories.co.za.

Contact Lisa on info@lifestories.co.za or +27 72 3776211

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