How to Explain Project Management to Grade 1

Project management is like creating a plan to build a lego set in stages with different teams building the separate parts.

Today I am going to try to explain project management to my kid’s class of Grade 1 students. This is part of their social studies class and I am sure you could only imagine a few fields more boring that project management (at least for kids, I love my job). I have been preparing for three weeks and I feel stressed out, because these brilliant young kids ask tough questions. Like, for example, why did I pick this job, what I like the most and so on.

I remember when I started preparing the presentation, I had the idea to actually publish the outcome as a post. I am not expecting that any of you is actually a six-year-old, but I hope that you will enjoy the story that I have prepared for them.

By the end of the article, I hope that you will have a framework for simplifying future similar conversations. Ana go-to resource for sharing more information about projects, milestones, reports, and testing with your children.

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How to Improve Your Decision Skills

When faced with a tough decision, calculate the expected value of each of the options, approximate dollar value and feelings with utils.

Today I am going to discuss the art of making a good decision. Especially when you need to consider alternatives which have both monetary and non-monetary impact. Just like last week, this article is inspired by the book “How Not to Be Wrong” by Jordan Ellenberg (link to Goodreads).

When my spouse and I need to travel back to Europe, we have same debate – how early we should be at the airport so that we don’t miss our flight. When flying there, I am always rooting for getting there as late as possible. And she wants us to be at the airport four hours before the flight. When we are flying back, our roles flip. What can I say … too many relatives, too many responsibilities, less relax time.

But how can you decide? Is there a mental model for solving this situation?

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Look for the Hidden Assumptions

What can we learn from bullet holes on WWII airplanes about hidden assumptions in order to get to better decisions.

Today I am going to share a story about hidden assumptions. I am reading another book about mental models (“How Not to Be Wrong” by Jordan Ellenberg – link to Goodreads) and there is one example which stood out, especially since I had already read about it multiple times. The example is about the mathematician Abraham Wald, who was helping the United States Air Force (USAF) make better decisions during WWII.

When I need to make a decision, I usually find it very easy to get all the known knowns and known unknowns and put them on the table. But all these are explicit assumptions. For example, I recently changed teams within my organization twice in rapid succession. In both cases, I considered the immediate assumptions. I expected the team I was leaving to keep getting worse and I expected the team I was joining to be better than my previous team and to keep getting better. But I kept asking myself, “Was I wrong?”

Here, I will share with you the story about the bullet holes in the USAF airplanes and how Abraham Wald had the insight in correcting a wrong assumption which could have costed many lives.

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How to Improve Book Retention

Stop reading non-fiction books only to forget them after you close the last page. Increase your retention by following three simple steps.

Today I am going to teach you how to improve your retention when reading non-fiction books. After all this is the only reason why we read such kinds of books, right?

I have gone over several methods that do not work. From passive reading (i.e., I just read the book and then I take the next one), to highlighting quotes and important passages, and all the way to extracting my highlights and creating a mind map organized by chapter. But when I read a great book like Adam Grant’s Think Again, I will find myself unable to generate a thoughtful review about it or remember even one important idea from the book.

Here, I will show you my latest method for improving retention. It is based on the book How to Take Smart Notes (link to Goodreads).

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How to Climb the Wall

When learning a new skill, the moment when your will drops below your skill is called the wall. To succeed, you need to climb the wall.

Every time when you start something new there is a moment when your willpower drops below your perceived skill level. This moment is called the wall. It looks daunting but eventually, if you keep practicing both, your skill level and your willpower start going up. You have started to climb the wall. If you persist, you will get to the peak and then … you will see another mountain to climb.

In this article, I will give you my tips for the hardest part in acquiring any new skill – the climb. If you zoom our, you will notice the same principle at a higher level – your career, your relationship, your life. Hopefully, you will also find ways to apply what you have learned to other areas, not only when learning a skill.

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