LIFE IS A PROJECT

Collection of Project Stories

By Adib Noh

A project is something that has a beginning and an ending with a purpose!

Life begins when we were born and ends when we die. We know when we come to this world but we do not know when we shall depart. Life has a purpose and the results of your actions are manifested in your daily deliverables. What you think, say and do matters every day. At the end of the day, a summary is written. This is Your Life. It is your project. You are the project owner, the project manager and you shall own all the consequences of your decisions and actions. Enjoy the ride!

Most of the stories I am sharing with you are from my personal experience in the last fifty years of my life. Each story has its part and role in my life. You shall encounter a similar situation but in different forms, locations and times. The common denominator is a project-either big or small, costs no money or millions of ringgit, ordinary or extraordinary and simple or complex. It has the same flow-beginning with project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure(Project Life Cycle). The project can be personal or business or related to your job. To better manage your project, you need to acquire basic knowledge of project management which is comprised of ten areas of applications as mentioned PMI Project Management Body of Knowledge(PMBOK).

Each story shared here has its components in Project Life Cycle and PMBOK. The key to learning project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques applied to project activities to achieve project goals translated into products, results or outcomes. And that is project management. At the end of each story, I list down some of the lessons learnt.

You are most welcome to join the Simply Project Group on my Facebook. There, I share more info and experience via articles shared and my weekly podcast.

STORY #01- PROJECT CAR

On my way to Rantau Panjang, Pasi Mas, Kelantan to inspect a construction project, I saw a Datsun SSS overtake our JKR Landrover. Way back in 1977, a government department like JKR still used the British Landrover to go out for my work as an engineer. The car was very fast and I wonder what the hell is going on. That appeared to be more than the road speed of 110km/hr. When I asked my driver, he replied,” It is a project car!”. This is something new to me. I inquired further,” What is a Project Car?’. According to him, a project car is a special car used by smugglers to ply their trade from Golok/Rantau Panjang border to Pasir Mas.

Later I found out about why smugglers used Datsun SSS at that time. Datsun SSS is a robust and high-performance car and can be modified for high-speed gateway cars. The smugglers need high powered cars to outrun the police cars when they get noticed or caught. Many a time, they managed to get away because they know the ‘rat roads’-unmarked escape routes around the village. The border of Malaysia and Thailand is the Golok River. There was no way you can prevent smuggling along the borders that run from Pengkalang Kubur to Bukit Bunga in Tanah Merah in Kelantan. From my observations and stories I heard while I was serving in JKR Pasir Mas from 1976 to 1980, smuggling activities were very rampant not only by cars and lorries but also by the train linking Golok and Pasir Mas. Between the two countries, there is always a price differential in most products. The illegal goods move both ways-similarly to the money, bahts and ringgits.

To increase the probability of success in the smuggling activities, the smugglers need good drivers, high-performance cars and knowledge of the roads and police roadblocks. Every smuggling trip is a project. It has to be planned and well-executed. The project car, a customised vehicle is imperative for the project's success. All this while, I was exposed to construction projects. This is my first acquaintance with illegal business project-smuggling. Here is the first lesson that I learnt- you need a high power vehicle to deliver your project.

Lessons learnt:

  1. Special project needs a customised vehicle and competent driver

2. Local knowledge of roads of project areas

3. Intelligence and information are critical.

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