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Doin It Project Style Book 2019-07-16T06:37:23+00:00
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Doin’ It Project Style

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Why I Wrote This Book

“There’s only one way to do it; with full attention and all your heart.”

Arianna Huffington on stepping down from Huffington Post and the announcement of the launch of Thrive Global, 11 August 2016

Clarity appeared on a Fat Burger napkin in LA.

In October 2017, I was sitting in Fat Burger in LA with my friend Kim Dixon who is a woman on a mission like me to make an impact doing what we love and are good at. Kim was asking me about a project she had going on and I found myself sharing some thoughts about what her next steps could be and realized that maybe if I put this down on paper, I could maybe share what I knew with more people and perhaps help more projects to become unstuck.

I thought wouldn’t it be good if I had a simple one-page framework that I could share, after all, I like to keep things super simple.

Projects can get complicated and navigating where to go next is often the stumbling block. Knowing your next steps is a core function on any project.

So one thing I know for sure is that projects rarely go in a straight line, yet that is how we are taught to plan for them. If you have a project to deliver right now, where do you go for help and advice? It’s tricky because projects are so common, but training for them is so uncommon if you are not doing projects as your main gig.

Doin’ It Project Style is a must read for anyone with a project to deliver.

This is the simplest view of how projects actually work. It is project school, without the boring bits!

My Start. Do. Finish model featured in this book is a ‘no sugar, low carb’ version of project management easily digestible and good for your overall health, because its easily repeatable, daily, weekly, monthly and you can dose up on it when you have an important project to deliver.

The super simple framework applies to any project – life or business. We have yet to find one that it doesn’t fit – if you find one, let us know and we will figure that out too.

We all have projects, so may as well get really good at them.

So where do you go for project training now? If you want certifications and standards training, there is plenty available and the global leadership is provided by The Project Management Institute. Full disclosure I am a PMI member and have done the certifications along the way with leading, managing and delivering 100’s of projects over a 20-year career.

But here’s the thing. That’s awesome for me but out of reach and relevance for most people who do not want to play full time in project land.

Things have changed from 20 years ago when I started in the world of projects. Project management used to be a skill of choice, a skill of experts. Now, projects are a skill of demand for any job, business, nonprofit organizations and recently, a wave of social entrepreneurs are embracing the need to ‘projectize’ their big visions into actionable actions that can change the world. We have come along way from beards and brown cardigans using project theory to build bridges and put a man on the moon, to now startups, businesses, families, communities, schools, visionary individuals and global campaigns following some basic project approach to make this a better world. It’s great to see.

The Centre for Creative Leadership offered up some early models for how executives learn and they call it the 70/20/10 rule –

  • 70% comes from on the job training
  • 20% comes from mentoring
  • 10% comes from formal training.

So I like this a lot because the training ground for projects comes from doing them. We learn by doing in project land.

This book is here to fast track your 100%.

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What’s The Book About?

We will give you some formal training to give you an uplift in project literacy and understanding – language, meanings, facts, information. We have a section for you on The Project Basics. It’s not going to overwhelm, it just provides a good foundation of knowledge to carry with you. I promise you a little knowledge is a good thing.

We will act as your personal project coach and seek to find out where you and your project is at, what challenges you may be facing and offer some strategies and simple shifts you can make to help you move forward.

We will stand right beside you in the trenches with you and your project and give you a proven roadmap to follow and recognize what happens when and what to watch out for.

Sometimes we are just going to ‘wing it’ and figure it out as we go and other times structure can be our best friends and we will show you that too. You need both in project land.

“We want more project delivery, less project management time. Results are the prize we are chasing” – Ali Fowler

Some of these areas you will be rockstars in and other areas may need some upskilling.

Like any change we want to make, it’s going to take work and practice to develop some new mindsets and habits and learn a few new skills along the way. Skills that can open up possibilities for your life, business, family, community…even your legacy to the world.

Many people who have legacy projects are following this simple Start. Do. Finish. to help get their dreams off the back burner and into the world. Small business owners and solopreneurs are following this too.

The Start. Do. Finish approach has been developed through deep listening to a range of project owners who have been generous with their openness on the struggles they face and what works for them and what is definitely not working. It is also a result of three years of observations of social entrepreneurs who may never step into a corporate environment with a wealth of resources and departments behind them (and frankly never want to), and how they delivering epic projects ‘out in the wild’ under extraordinary circumstances, mostly before ‘the money appears’. And often without a traditional formal project plan or approach, but rather some simple common sense superpowers of the right mindset and the ability to break down big things into little things, in order to get more done and sooner.

If it’s simple, we are more likely to follow it. This is so simple, its all on one page, summarised at the start of this book, for your convenience.

This book is designed to be read in small chunks, put down, picked up again, put down, picked up again and to be bent, scribbled on, shoved in laptop bags, read on planes, swiped through on phones and tablets, listened to whilst you are out walking, playing in the background whilst you are cooking dinner or on the treadmill at the gym – audio*1 version coming soon.  It’s low-cost professional development for your team because having one common language on a project is key to team engagement and this book provides some pretty simple language and visuals that teams can adopt and make their own.

It’s an unapologetically simple for beginners as well has clearly marked advanced strategies for the more experienced.

Here – its all about you. Whether you are reading this as a project administrator, project manager, project director, project sponsor or newbie, part-timer or learning to become your own project guru for your own project, we have your back.

We’re here for both projects and their owners!

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Who Is It For?

This book is for those of you with no project experience or training as well as friendly reminders for those of you who are well versed and experienced in the discovering, designing, deciding and doing of projects.

If this is your first time into project land, a sincere welcome to you. Consider a virtual hug or handshake coming your way. This book is going to be helpful as a resource, something to carry in your back pocket and pull out when you find yourself contemplating your next project or right in the middle of one and wondering what your next step might be

If you are a frequent flyer in Project Land, great to see you here today. This book will be a handy reminder of some things you already know lots about and are well versed in, but there will be some new thoughts and insights and perspectives, that I urge you to consider and expand your repertoire. After all, there’s no end to our learning. Why? Because no two projects are ever the same. That’s why we love them!

My wish for you is that this book will give you the courage to take on a project that can make a real difference in your life, our business, your family, your community and your world.

Good luck with your projects!

Ali Fowler

Founder & CEO, World Projects

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Let’s Project Together


If there was one project you could do in this lifetime – life or business – what would that be?
Projects are simply a way of your getting your goals and dreams into action.
We all have projects. We may as well get really good at them.