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Be a Tight Ship

April 1, 2022
Qualified professionals who can deliver consistent results, run a tight ship with a “just enough” proven project management approach. […]

Prevent your projects from being a shipwreck. Qualified professionals who can deliver consistent results, run a tight ship with a "just enough" proven project management approach.

When I was younger (way younger), I would do woodworking projects with my Dad. They started out with some design I had sketched out on graph paper (this was before Computer Aided Design). We spent a good deal of time measuring, way more than the measure twice, cut once adage. It seemed more like measure five times, cut once. Much of the measurement was in sizing up the wood he already had on hand for the project–we rarely had to go to the lumber yard. This was the wood shop version of mis en place I later learned about at chef school–which means get out all the ingredients you need in the amount you need them for the recipe you are making.

Since the childhood apprenticeship with my father, I’ve worked with many other construction folks over the past four decades. An early tell on if the project will be completed anywhere close to the estimated time given is how well the person doing the project knows what is required for the project. The more experience someone has, the better they are at estimating what they need–not too little and not too much. Ordering too much "extra" for contingencies is a tell on lack of relevant experience as much as not ordering sufficient supplies.

My Dad was a hobbyist with woodworking–so he had ample leftovers because of acquiring more than what he needed for his projects. His wood shop was filled to the brim with the overage–being saved for "rainy" day projects. It wasn’t until I joined the military where I learned about the concept of running a tight ship. Aircraft hangers have a very real need for mis en place as FOD (foreign object damage) from a tool left out of its place is a real buzz kill on a plane engine.

Learning how to vet a professional from a wannabee is a critical skill for project managers to acquire suitable talent for completing a project Cheetah Fast. In the world of like attracts like, master the skills to be a "tight ship with projects–making sure you have mis en place–just enough project management at the right time. This can help you attract the type of talent who follow their own tight-ship processes for their craft.

About the Author

Michelle LaBrosse

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management (PM) to the masses. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 50,000 people have become "Cheetahs" using Cheetah Learning’s innovative PM and accelerated learning techniques. Michelle also developed the Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) program based on Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality profiling to help students master how to use their unique strengths for learning, doing projects, and negotiating. Michelle is recognized by the Project Management Institute as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world. For more information, visit To read my business-oriented blogs, please visit Cheetah Learning Blog at,, and read my columns here in ISE magazine at