cookie cutters

Project: Christmas Cookies

For the past six years I’ve undertaken a project which sounds simple, but is in fact deceptively complex:  Christmas cookies.  I’m not Christian, so really these are just “random cookies my friends get in the mail in December,” but I still really enjoy and celebrate a secular Christmas so who cares what they’re called!

This began because I have a lot of friends who unfortunately live all over the United States.  They mean a lot to me and I wanted to give them something for Christmas.  However, I also didn’t want to start a horrible cycle where you not only have to worry about presents for your family but also for friends and no one really knows what to send or how much to spend and do they even need socks and we all have too much stuff anyway and wait why am I buying my friends presents?  No one wants this.  But everyone enjoys cookies.  And they are the present that gives and then stops giving after you eat them and they no longer take up space in your house.

So I send the annual Christmas cookies to three groups of people:

  1. Family
  2. Close friends who are basically like family to me
  3. Other friends who seem like they might need some cookies this year or people I don’t know well yet but would like to

Category 1 and 2 are always the same every year.  Category 3 changes.  But why would I send Christmas cookies one year and withhold them the next?  What kind of monster am I?  The truth is, I am a monster who is not made of time, money, or effort.  (To my friends reading this who don’t get cookies:  I don’t hate you, I just have to maintain a grasp on sanity.)  Which is why Project: Christmas Cookie benefits from the application of…project management!

Yes, besides cooking (and Japanese and science fiction) I am also a nerd about project management.  A few years ago I got a graduate degree in it and have a swanky certification.  Mr. R also is a project management nerd and we seriously sometimes have conversations at home about earned value management.

Anyway, there is something in project management called the “triple constraints.”  These are time, scope, and cost/resources.  You have to consider each aspect for a project and if you increase one, the others will have to increase correspondingly.  So let’s talk about this that way.

This is my favorite visual of the triple constraints. It is from

Cookie Scope | Cookie Time | Cookie Cost

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