Urban Homesteading for Corporate Tools

For those of you transitioning from the corporate world to the homestead, I have prepared this helpful guide, dual homed with one foot in a Muck Boot and the other in a Wingtip Oxford.

Though they may seem divergent, the core competencies of gardening and cubicle wrangling are not so different after all. The language is different, one more elliptical and ass-coveringly precise, the other more open and suited to hoe-leaning.
These guidelines are presented in an email-friendly one-pager bullet-point format. Translations are included for those of you more comfortable with gardening terminology.
  • A SWOT analysis can frame realistic expectations of what deliverables can be realized: grow what grows well in your area. 
  • Partner with customers to develop a use case and functional specification that maximizes delivered value: grow what you eat a lot of.
  • A managed build out of capabilities that is right-sized around any given iteration is preferable to boiling the ocean: start small and build a little at a time.
  • Don’t be afraid to prototype and showcase some quick ROI to your partners with some low risk, low hanging fruit: start with something easy!
  • Develop a scalable executable architecture prior to construction and be prepared to circle back and descope in case of resource constraints: plan your garden with growth in mind and don’t worry if you don’t get it all done right away.
  • Level set with key stakeholders during inception to drive participation in lights-on: get your family to help with stuff like watering.
  • Remember that going-forward you will need productionalizable processes to maintain your infrastructure: take care to maintain good soil quality
  • Leveraging project synergies can mitigate threats around deliverable viability: companion planting and crop rotation can help.
  • Get visibility into potential resource contention roadblocks with a Gantt chart or other project management tool: you can’t plant a bed you haven’t harvested yet.
  • A comprehensive schedule management strategy is necessary to avoid schedule slippage and missed deliverables: you have to plant on time.
  • Outsourcing can mitigate risks associated with minor schedule slip at the risk of increased spend: if you don’t plant on time, buy some starts, but it’ll cost more.
  • Maintain touchpoints during the project lifecycle to determine the need for drill-down around potential delivery risks in the red zone: keep an eye on your crops and the weather so you don’t lose a harvest.
  • Have an exit strategy that avoids missed deliverables due to a project hard-stop prior to reaching the milestone to exit into transition phase: get your stuff out of the ground before it rots or freezes.
  • Get together for a mindshare with the community to spitball solutions and best practices: try joining a gardening club.

Now to all of you, business-speak fluent or not, I end with this note: get out there, leverage your core competencies, manage your timelines, meet your milestones, make your deliverables. This blog post is available in .ppt and .pptx format upon request.


  1. says

    Loved it! Reminded me of a program we once watched where a designer talked about the "roundosity" of a ball. I think that was about when we decided to decommission our cable-interfaced viewing platform and write off the investment costs: in other words, ditch the boob tube.

  2. says

    Ouch! My head hurts… off to some hoe-leaning to recover.

    EXCITEMENT! My new Garden spot 1/4 acre is being ROTOTILLED as we type! WHOOHOO! New house – new BIG garden spot!

  3. says

    Do people realy talk like that? I swore business writing was supposed to be dummed down to 7th grade vocabulary for ease of understanding… hehe.

  4. says

    Since I wrote this, I've received two emails with real gems: "external dependencies" and "re-baseline the project schedule." So let's add this line: External dependencies may limit scope to re-baseline project schedules (e.g. the weather drives when you plant and harvest).

  5. says

    One of the funniest blogs I've read in a month! Even though I'm a low-level bureaucrat in a County government position, I assure you I was not offended. I did have to translate a few phrases for a coworker, though, which made it all be funnier for me.

  6. says

    Oh my goodness, that took me back to my days in consulting. Thanks for the giggle. This post was truly a "step up opportunity" for you.

  7. Jen Teal says

    Yup. sounds just like my life. I'm actually piloting some new deliverables for Q3 while maintaining production on our core elements to mitigate risk to our vendor-of-choice status. (don't abandon the cherry tomatoes in pursuit of brusselsprouts and potatoes)


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