Assigning resources to your personal development

Authored by George Zack, President Two Harbors Consulting

– As we have set for the question, “can the frameworks you utilize for business process improvement be leveraged for your personal life,” we will now start to explore that in detail.  In this series of posts, I will work through each of the elements of a what the Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) considers a managed or defined process.  The goal of this series is to provoke thought how the elements of such generic practices are not only applicable to business, but can have bearing on your personal life.  By tying these practices to you personally, I believe it will drive a greater understanding in how they are to be applied in the business setting.

You have a policy or an objective for your personal development – be that a fitness goal, or a degree/certification, a backpacking trip through Europe, being a contributing member to your social committee (church, Scouts, Lions Club, PTA, etc), or whatever other personal pursuit it is that is of importance to you.  You have outlined a plan to do that.   These are the first two attributes of a managed process or in CMMI-eese:  “generic practices.”  These generic practices are typically considered in your business process areas or areas like “verification” or “requirements management” but are also applicable if you wish to define a managed process for your own personal development.

The third generic practice is “provide resources.”  You probably considered this to some degree in your planning, which is to say that consideration of these attributes is not completely linear or isolated.  The practice states that this is in place to “Provide adequate resources for performing the process, developing the work products, and providing the services of the process.”

In my example of a process area of “personal fitness,” where I focus on running the provision of resources is considering questions like this:

  • What shoes will I need?  Do I go with the super bulky and cushioned Hoka shoe or do I go with a minimalist shoe?  How many pairs will I need in a training cycle?  Do I need track spikes?
  • Will I have access / time and the tools (like a car) to get to the mountains nearby (about 15 miles) to get in significant vertical training?
  • What days will I have access to the track for speed work?
  • In the summer, will I be able to get up early enough to train to avoid the hot temps of the mid day?
  • In the winter, will I have access to a treadmill to get in good training when the snow is high enough that running is not really feasible?
  • Will I have access to training partners or a coach (this actually hits on other generic practices like identification of stakeholders and assigning responsibility)?
  • Do I have the right equipment to track my training (a watch, a heart rate monitor, a GPS, a log)?
  • For an ultramarathon, I learned there was even more emphasis on resources … water bottles, rain gear, socks, lubricant to prevent chaffing, various gels for food, drop bags, hats, sun protection, sun glasses, hiking poles, a light pack to hold all that stuff in.

The purpose of listing these above is not to get you to consider resources for your running program, but rather to consider how your could leverage the generic practice of providing of resources in your personal development (and in turn, your business process development) to define a managed practice.  Think of how the provision of resources are also important attributes to consider if you are going to get that MBA, go on a ski trip, execute your next holiday dinner, or build out deck or garden in your back yard.