You can wish everyone Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and any other greeting you choose. I sent this version to my newsletter subscribers (New PM, PMP guide) and got great responses. These are some great ideas for next year!
My wife and I have three amazing sons. In the past, we have always wrapped each gift individually at Christmas.
We decided to do something different this year. We did Santa bags for each child this year. Nothing was wrapped individually.
Massive time savings
My wife bought 500% more gift than I wanted, so I can safely say that this saved us about 5 hours of wrapping time. (project management geek: confirmed.)
The Santa Bags
The unique Santa bag was special. It was like Santa left a gift bag for each member of the family. The whole unwrapping of gifts one at a while thing doesn’t bring our family much joy.
Because there was no wrapping paper, this was definitely more eco-friendly. We kept the Santa bags and will reuse them next year. They’re like big stockings.
Easier clean-up
You will often find pieces of shrapnel and wrapping paper all over the place, almost as if you were in a war zone. This approach is not the best.
We had to make some last-minute distribution decisions for some of the smaller toys. These were often based on the favorite colors of the same toy. Tamara asked me to choose between two of our sons which pile was smaller, and I gave him the toy. (Sometimes, the shop-aholic in her bought toys without thinking about a specific child.
Okay, so we don’t get the chance to see the children open all the presents. However, this is outweighed by the fact that they opened several individually wrapped gifts from their grandparents last night. They’ll also have more today when they visit my parents and their family.
Lessons Learned
Some of the emails I received helped me find ways to improve next time.
Make it easier for customers
Alex Brown, a friend from Real-Life Projects, made a great suggestion. He takes everything out of the boxes, installs batteries, and so on. Everything is ready and waiting for the children when they come down Christmas morning. This idea is great and I will definitely try it next year with my wife. Imagine a Christmas morning without any mess. Play time.
In the right order, set a Performance Measurement Baseline.
Budget over-runs can be caused by not managing scope. If you only have a budget in mind and don’t pay attention to it, you’ll likely find scope after you’ve exhausted all your funds. You must then go over budget. It might have been better to plan scope-driven with cost range guidelines. A prioritized backlog of scope would have allowed us to ensure that the most important gifts were purchased first and that we did not sacrifice any ancillary toys once we had reached the bottom.
I’m glad my wife hasn’t read this; she’d probably tell you that I’m full of it.
We did a great job with the schedule, but a clearly defined goal would be better. We forgot to bring gifts to our nieces and nephews at one family gathering. That’s what happens when you go with your gut and manage a project like that.
My wife and I decided to abandon tradition in favor a more valuable approach. This sounds a lot like how I manage projects. Not to thwart the tried-and-true, but to be open-minded about other approaches that might work better.
We are happy with the final product