This week sees the completion of the greatest project delivered during my career as a project manager, and in my life to-date.
Daughter 1.0 is released into an already crowded market, a fully-grown and (somewhat) mature 18-year-old heading off to University. I’m naturally apprehensive for her future safety, security and sympathetic handling as she finds her place in the world. I’m also supremely confident that she will carve out her niche, given time.
I want to share the main lessons learned from a review held at the conclusion of this project. It may be of assistance to other parents as they work at similar projects. I’m also keen to document the key learnings in the hope that they may assist as I continue working on Daughter 2.0, Son 1.0 and Daughter 3.0 (planned for release in that order).
Early signs of acceptance post implementation are positive. Daughter 1.0 is being well received in the market, with a choice of good universities and potential boyfriends showing interest (some more welcome than others).
The striking packaging and glossy exterior of Daughter 1.0 promise much, but results from academic testing have been exceptionally positive too. Feedback gained on her personality, dedication, cheerful disposition and hard-working nature have been similarly positive from those interacting with her on a regular basis.
Once the post-release patches have been applied to address the tearful-farewell and home-sickness bugs then I’m confident that all will be fine.
The scope of the project was quite simply to raise Daughter 1.0 from birth to adulthood.
Critical Success Factors were to keep her safe and healthy, facilitate and assist in her education and to ensure she learned the skills to sustain her own life, post-release into the world.
Acceptance criteria were defined as a proven and practical ability to function as an adult, and to demonstrate an appreciation and willingness to fulfil her role as a well-adjusted member of society. Finally, it was hoped that Daughter 1.0 would be confident and enthusiastic about heading out into the world upon release. She’s heading for University far away from home so I’m certain that this has been met.
There were no specific criteria for personality traits in Daughter 1.0; the scope suggested waiting to see what emerged. I’m pleased to report that sensitivity, emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-reliance, personal accountability and a wicked sense of humour are all abundantly present in the finished article.
The duration of the project was intended to be 18 years from start to finish. Slippage was not acceptable, especially once Daughter 2.0 began coveting the bedroom of Daughter 1.0 a few years ago. This has been another on-time delivery in my career as Project Manager(for any recruiters who may be reading).
There was no specific budget allocated to the project. I’m ashamed to report that expenditure quickly spiralled out of control. I’m heartened though that this seems to be the norm for similar projects having consulted my peers.
I’m reluctant to admit that I’ve lost the desire to keep track of project expenditure to date. I’ve also chosen to mentally block-out future costs of post-release enhancements and support for Daughter 1.0. Costs associated with continuing development at University, and eventually when she meets and decides to marry FutureSon 1.0 are too daunting to consider at this point.
At 42 I feel I’m also entitled to ignore the prospect of expenditure for Grandchild 1.0 for a good few years yet.
The biggest change accommodated during the lifecycle was my amicable divorce from Mum 1.0 seven years into the project. This was creatively mitigated by the implementation of an equal co-parenting arrangement. For the last 11 years, Daughter 1.0 has been raised for alternate weeks by me, and then by Mum1.0. An unconventional delivery-framework, it has proven extremely effective and meant that both parents have retained an active ongoing role in the raising of Daughter 1.0.
In later years, I’ve remarried to Mum 1.5. Mum 1.0 has also remarried to Dad 1.5; the project steering committee of Daughter 1.0 has thus doubled in size with further stakeholders taking an active interest in the successful delivery of the project.
This has been of great value in doubling the sources of input, insight and support received by Daughter 1.0.
Mum 1.5 and Dad 1.5 are both nominated for special recognition for their contributions to the project and their flexibility and stoic acceptance of the unique parenting commitments possessed by myself and Mum 1.0.
Risks and Issues
The main risks that were foreseen during the project were the perceived threats from outside forces. It was feared that these would compromise her safety or corrupt her sense of right and wrong. Risks presented by (in no particular order) drugs, alcohol, apathy, smartphones, boys, social media, and the negative influence of her peers were all identified as potentially threatening to her successful upbringing. We mitigated most of these, aside from smartphones and social media; these continue to be a distracting factor that often interfere with normal operation of Daughter 1.0.
There was also a risk once Daughter 1.0 entered her 13th year, that compliance, self-control, communication-skills and personal-conduct might malfunction and become corrupted by teenage hormones. A mix of discipline, reasoning, and weathering of tantrums and mood-swings has proven challenging, but following a few tricky years towards the end of the project, most bugs have been ironed out.
Daughter 1.0 has reached the desired state of maturity, responsibility and self-assurance such that we feel confident in her future self-mitigation against all reasonable risks that can be foreseen. We remain ready with extensive product support should it be required in future.
Project communications and control
Methods have varied throughout the project; initially acceptable progress was maintained through the mere provision of warmth, shelter, regular sustenance and a steady supply of toys and entertainments. In later years, bribery has been useful. Denial of things such as sweets, toys, new clothing, favours and money have also shown to be variously effective.
Communication channels have been strained at times, encompassing tantrums, shouting, screaming, silent-treatment and regular expressing of the unfairness of life.
Daughter 1.0 has reached a level now where mature communication is the norm.
As the product has matured, functionality has grown exponentially. Through her development Daughter 1.0 has surpassed all expectations for earning academic qualifications and practical skills. These have been achieved with the minimum of fuss and an admirable level of personal application, discipline and diligent hard work.
Practical skills such as driving, are also built into Daughter 1.0, along with other diverse skills, abilities and hobbies that have shaped her into the well-rounded young woman that she is.
As Daughter 1.0 goes live, it is with a sense of jubilation, pride and relief, coupled with a crippling sadness and dread that I close down the project. I’m immensely pleased with the finished article and I am certain that she will go-on to achieve great things. Those who encounter Daughter 1.0 are blessed for she is someone who radiates many fine and valuable traits and demonstrates a keen interest in helping others.
I’m pleased that the project has come to an end, and I’m excited to see what the post-live phase brings with it. I’m certain that it will be eventful, peppered with many highs and, no doubt a few lows too. I’m confident that whatever life throws in her path, Daughter 1.0 will take it all in her stride.
Daughter 1.0 is fully supported and comes with a lifetime guarantee from the entire project team. She will be given the freedom to find her own path, encouragement when she needs it, and counsel when she asks for it.
The project team will never stop loving her and we’re all proud to release Daughter 1.0 to the world.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, please feel free to join my email list.