What if I said that project management and travel management are not too different from each other? Would you believe it? I understand if you said I had no idea what I was talking about. Hear me out! I am passionate about my travels and the projects I work on for a living. Being experienced on both the things, it has definitely made me realise that they involve similar if not same kind of activities. The project management and travels are so similar that my travels, especially solo, have made me a better project manager and has helped me in understanding the project management concepts in practicality.
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What is project management?
Project management involves the project of managing and working with a group of people or a team to achieve certain goals within the given boundaries or constraints. The constraints are the scope of what one wants to achieve, set time as to when the goal needs to be achieved and a budget to spend to achieve the goal.
I treat each of my travel plans as a mini project and I try to execute it with the three constraints, which is destination, money, and time. Similar to projects, I have spreadsheets to monitor my expenditure and draft out my itinerary and bookings.
Stages of project management
The project management involves systematic activities in order to achieve a goal. All these activities may run in parallel or one after the other but the ultimate idea is to achieve the goal defined. Usually at a high level, there are 5 stages / main activities involved in project management.
Sometimes the 5 stages are further divided into more stages. And also these stages may overlap with each other and one could go back and forth between the stages as and when required based on the need.
- Stage 1 – Initiation.
- Stage 2 – Planning and Estimation.
- Stage 3 – Execution.
- Stage 4 – Performance, Monitoring and control.
- Stage 5 – Project closure.
Comparison of project management and travel management
Now that we have understood what project management is and the stages involved in the project management, let’s talk about why I am writing this post in the first place. Travel to a destination can be treated as a project in itself (no matter how far or near the destination is) as it does involve the various stages like deciding, planning, estimation and execution.
|Initiation||In a project, at the initiation stage is where the project formally begins. It is at this stage that the goal, scope and the need is defined.|
Milestone: Goal, Scope and Need.
|In travel, at the initiation stage is where we decide on where to go, when to go and determine the destination to travel.|
|Planning and Estimation||In a project, the planning and estimation involves defining the time, cost and people involved. This is a stage where projects are broken down to smaller milestones, phases and responsibilities.|
Milestone: Work breakdown structure.
|In travel, at planning and estimation stage, we start with the research on the things to do at the destination decided, booking of the flights, accommodation and tours. And plan out the itinerary involving all the things researched.|
This involves getting other people involved, like our travel buddies, or travel groups/ agencies.
Milestone: Bookings and itinerary.
|Execution||In a project, the execution is the stage where the project is put in action. This is the stage where the goal is implemented and the team works together to make the goal happen.|
This is also the stage at which the risks and issues are managed that arise during the execution of project.
|In travel, execution involves the act of traveling to the destination and living through the things that were booked during the planning and estimation.|
This is also the stage where we manage any unplanned or unforeseen issues, like delayed flights or cancellation of tours because of the weather, that arise during our travels.
|Performance, Monitoring and Control||Monitoring of the project and the budget is throughout the project. This involves checking if the budget has overflown or is within the schedule and if all the tasks or issues are addressed.||During the travels, we make sure we have the control over our bookings, budget and follow the itinerary. We also make sure we completely enjoy the travel and have fun/ happy times. |
We take lots of pictures, post them on social media and collect memories.
|Project Closure||The last stage of the project management is Closing the project. This is where the goal has been achieved and all the tasks have been completed. This also means releasing all the resources and people working on the project.||After we return from our travels, we share our stories with our loved ones and we cherish the memories that we collected during our travels. This is where we close out on a destination only to start a new travel project.|
Traveling and planning for my travels has definitely made me a better project manager and to handle the issues and risks better. It has truly made me understand the importance of every stage in the travel/ project management process. I do agree that sometimes, few parts of the stages involved may be smaller than the other parts, but still it does require every stage to be lived and completed.
What do you think? Do you agree with me when I say travel and project management are same? Let me know in the comments below.
If you wish to read more about my thoughts and experiences about anything and everything mostly my life, then refer the section of my blog, My stories.