The Critical Path of Soap Making

My company sent me on a project management course before Christmas with the sneaky plan that I might be a certified project manager by the end of January. I figured it will come in handy if I ever want to throw myself in front of investors pitching my built from the ground with my own soft little hands cosmetics brand. Hence, I listened carefully to our instructor Liam who tried to make the boring matter plump and delicious like an embalmed baby bum. I managed to stay awake most of the time.

With the exam deadline looming (next Monday; in case someone wants to send good wishes, chocolate or flowers), my brain is occupying itself with terms like baselines, scope, budget, work break down structure, schedules and controls. Unconsciously, I started applying the PMBOK rules to my soap and lotion making. As per the PMBOK standard I am creating a unique product through progressive elaboration. With regards to soap and lotion making I noticed that change control and risk management strategy is key.

Take this example. Below’s the output of my recent soap making endeavour.


That’s my first multi-coloured soap (not a great picture, but the soap is actually quite lovely). So in case you can’t see it properly it’s purple at the bottom and white on top. Not bad for the first time soap-maker you might say. Not quite right. The colour was supposed to turn turquoise. In fact, it changed from a lovely peach to yellow, brown, green and then purple. What the heck? So now it’s smelling coconutty. Had I known it was going to turn out purple it would have been lavender instead!

I have learned to keep my risk log (aka my little recipe book that smells of fresh linen ever since I stabbed myself in the finger when opening the bottle with aforementioned fragrance oil) constantly updated. I also noted “make better swirls the next time” as a must-have improvement opportunity.

So what’s my take away from all of this? Documenting learnings and failures is key. Damn, I think I need a bigger risk log.

P.S. I also made some delightful bath bombs at the weekend. The pictures are R rated though as I put them into a heart shaped ice cube silicon mould and they rose like little mushrooms. Needless to say that warranted another entry into the risk log.