Some of the articles I have most enjoyed reading this month…
The tools and techniques of project management are universal. A good project manager should be able to add value in any environment. Most project managers, however, bring some specific subject matter expertise with them.
This subject matter expertise could be industry-specific technical knowledge, but it could also be project experience. If you have run a business transformation project in one industry, then organisations in another industry will value that experience.
If you wish to move industry, then ensure your CV focuses on your transferable skills: your project management skills. Remove industry-specific jargon or detailed technical information from your CV. If this information is not relevant, then it will be of no interest to the recruiter.
Being a well-respected project manager does take time and as with any job you have to build up a reputation. That reputation, however, starts with today. Think about how you are performing today and how that contributes to your reputation overall. Do the tasks that help you earn respect and drop those bad practices that might be, at one end of the scale, unethical or at the other end, just not necessary.
Professionalism, honesty, trust and performance will all help you earn respect as a project manager. If you do all of those things well then you’ll be well thought of in your organisation.
Is Agile Your Solution or Your Problem?
Kevin Aguanno discusses how even agile project management practices can become so rigid that they become stifling rather than liberating. Sometimes strict adherence to an agile framework can cause problems for project teams. For instance, a company had attempted to adopt a Scrum-based agile process framework three years ago without proper training or coaching. As you could expect, the pilot project team was running into significant difficulties not understanding when to apply agile practices, how they should be used and for what benefits. After rotating through a few agile coaches, they found themselves more confused than ever. Some agile practices were being tried, abandoned and re-tried again. Others were being employed in a manner that runs contradictory to the spirit in which they were first conceived. Most concerning of all, the project manager did not understand that everything on an agile project should be flexible enough to respond to the changing project–even the agile methodology itself.
It’s very clear. The success of a business is linked to the success of its projects. When a project fails, the business suffers. When several projects fail or when one seriously large project fails, the company could even go under. So what are the key ingredients to ensure each project succeeds? Well there are many ingredients which affect the outcome of any project but for now we’ll consider just two – the goals and the objectives of the project. Without these two factors being sound and appropriate, your project will fail.
An interesting article by Michel Dion in which he discusses how it is important when managing a project for the project manager to be able to add value. It does not mean being the expert, but it does mean being able to have enough of an understanding to have a meaningful conversation, make appropriate strategic analysis and decisions. In a competitive environment, there is no room for a management level that doesn’t add value.
Leadership is the next level of professional development. Leadership is a complex concept with various potential definitions. Sometimes, the definition is focused on managing a team. Sometimes, it will be focused on influencing others without formal power or management authority. At the executive level, leadership always includes vision, strategic thinking, innovation and ideas, collaboration, coordination of activities, and a focus on taking actions to achieve a goal.