An Anal Retentive Bride-to-Be

WWithin the first month of starting my job at Systemation, five years ago, we went on a company retreat. My sister, Ariel came along as my plus one as I was a single lady back then. Ariel and I had just moved in to an apartment together and were experiencing some growing pains since I am the neat and tidy sibling and she isn’t. Anyway, to make a long story short, Ariel called me anal* in front of my entire office. Needless to say I was quite embarrassed.  I doubt though that any of my co-workers even remember the comment.

Even though I probably don’t officially meet Freud’s requirements of an anal retentive individual Ariel was not incorrect in the fact that I obsessively pay attention to detail. It’s a personality trait that reared its ugly head last night while I was completing my work breakdown structure (WBS). I could have endlessly re-arranged deliverables and sub-deliverables. I think I am growing though because I realized it way sooner than I would have in years past. So, I decided to call it done after checking against the deliverables I came up with a few weeks back.

Let me say this though, creating a WBS is time consuming no matter how obsessively detailed oriented you are or aren’t.


Bringing the WBS into The Modern Age

After the disaster of last week I went right to converting what I had gotten done with the sticky notes into electronic form. I had already researched free online WBS software and narrowed the choices down to two possibilities: WBS Tool and Dooster. I started with Dooster because it was more than a tree-diagram creator; it had scheduling and reminder capabilities too. But it turns out that Dooster was not as visually based as I had hoped. Creating my WBS involved dragging and dropping items to get them in the correct place. After about an hour of playing around I moved on to WBS Tool and it was perfect for my purpose. I was able to create my WBS with ease, customize the colors, and move deliverables around.

The one glitch I just realized I had with WBS Tool is that when I opened my WBS file this morning on my work computer, all the work I put in last night was not saved. Luckily, I think I left the window open on my home computer so I don’t think the file was lost.  Here is a screen shot of my initial work:



As you can see I had some one-to-one relationships which is a no no. I’ll try and post my completed WBS tomorrow as long as I’m able to recover it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

All in all I would say my electronic WBS was quite successful. I was correct when I said that I may be overwhelmed when I finally see everything but I wasn’t quite as overwhelmed as I imagined I would be.

Here’s to keeping my anal retentiveness under wraps for the rest of the wedding planning, and more importantly for Justin’s sake, my future marriage.


*I tried really hard not to use the term anal retentive as it seemed a little crude to me for a blog about project management and wedding planning. I searched Google for other similar terms but unfortunately nothing seemed to have quite the same ring.


  1. Dad/Laird
    Aug 21, 2011

    What about obsessive compulsive?

    • lcagan
      Aug 22, 2011

      Yeah I could have used obsessive compulsive. But like I said, it doesn’t have the same ring.

  2. Ariel
    Sep 1, 2011

    Thank you for the glowing review of your wonderful sister 😉 I think your inability to move past the anal stage has served you well as a successful employee and as a organizer in your own life and home!

    • lcagan
      Sep 2, 2011

      You know I love you. And yes, my analness has served me well, mostly…

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