A Project Manager’s Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving in 7 Simple Steps

November 26, 2014 by

Are you already feeling the heat thinking about your Thanksgiving turkey? Time to show the family how a true project manager takes over the kitchen – it is your time to shine!


But wait…will the turkey be big enough? What if the dinner is ready, but of course some of the guests are extra late? Or even worse, they show up extra early? And the hot topic lately…the family member who will request if each item is gluten-free, dairy-free, taste-free! Okay, this IS a project and in order to successfully manage a project, you need an approach. So here it is, a project manager’s guide to surviving Thanksgiving in seven simple steps!


1. Define Your Scope

How many family members have you initially invited and how many have RSVP’d (as we know to allow for a few extra – someone always forgets to RSVP!)? Is it going to be a full sit down meal or a buffet? How many turkey lovers to you have, who will most definitely look for seconds?


2. Initiate the Project

The first task is to ensure that you have approval to proceed with the project. You might say that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, but you don’t want your mother-in-law, sister or brother presuming they are the host this year. Next, you need to get your resources allocated – stock up the fridge! And finally, decide your project management process – how are you going to approach this task?


3. Plan and Setup the Project

Get a definite number of guests, a list of dietary requirements, who is bringing elements of the dinner and make a list!

4. Set Your Timeline

Ok, you are a project manager and very well trained, but this is not something you can do on the fly – you need to set out an itinerary and timescale of events. Plan what time the turkey needs to go in the oven, followed by all the trimmings and what time they need to all come out to be perfectly golden.


5. Likely Issue and Risk Assessment

There is at least one in every family – “the late one”. There is always a risk of your guests running late, or even that unexpected guest.  What can you prepare in advance for and what can you have a backup plan for?


6. Work WITH Your Stakeholders & Collaborate With Your Team

Family – they are your uttermost loved ones, but when it comes to who makes the best stuffing or the way you chop the vegetables – they can be a handful. Teamwork is key, you will need to delegate certain tasks to other people and try to be as flexible as possible. After all, what is the harm in having multiple types of stuffing?


7. Close the Project and Reflect

Enjoy the carb-overload and take a few minutes to reflect on how well your project went – Thanksgiving dinner has been a success!


Recommended Next Steps…

Put your feet up and enjoy the rest of the holidays! 🙂


Image credit 


Ciara McDonnell

Latest posts by Ciara McDonnell (see all)

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This