Free coaching or training

Written by Paul Naybour on . Posted in News

As part of the Growth Accelerator service, Participating companies are automatically entitled to a Government Matched-funding grant worth £2,000 per manager towards training related to Leadership or Management.

This “Leadership & Management” grant is available to businesses with an annual turnover of up to £40m p.a. with up to 250 Full-Time employees.

For information on this service, please refer to the “ Leadership Management” document.

The department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) are also currently asking The Association for Project Management to run a pilot scheme to test how well small businesses respond to coaching vs. training. As a result businesses turning over between £250,000 p.a. and £2,000,000 p.a. can access the aforementioned grants at no cost. The ‘catch’ in this pilot is that, if the company is selected (at random) to receive coaching as well, they must pay £700 VAT (which is reclaimable in the usual manner) and must have that coaching. This pilot scheme has a limit of just 600 places, which are filling up quickly. Businesses in this size bracket looking for training in the new year can sign up to this scheme now, with a view to securing the funding for training in the new year.

For information on this pilot, please refer to the “ Growth Impact Pilot” document.

For information on the service as a whole, please refer to the “ About GrowthAccelerator” document.

Sam Landsberg is the contact at the Growth Accelerator; please contact him directly for more information or to refer potential clients for the grant.

He can be contacted directly via sam.jl.landsberg@uk.gt.com or via his direct dial, 0207 728 3223.

Roundup of recent PM Articles and Videos

Written by Michelle Symonds on . Posted in Default, News

Stop That Project!

There are some projects that once they begin continue on like a snowball rolling down a hill. The project builds momentum, increasing in terms of the time, effort and money that are continuously absorbed by it. The greater the spend; the harder it is for the project to stop or change direction.

This may be fine if the project is of value and if the work is being done effectively so as to achieve the desired value. But if the project is not adding value, or it is headed in a wrong direction, or it does not comply with regulations and best practices then the project should be stopped.

The question is who can, or should, stop the project?

Read more in this article by George Pitagorsky

5 Tips for Managing Project Communications in a Crisis

A new video from Elizabeth Harrin of A Girl’s Guide to Project Management

There are always things that go wrong on projects – sometimes those issues are small; sometimes they are significant. In this video Elizabeth offers 5 tips to help you deal with project communications during a crisis.

 

Top 5 open source project management tools for 2015

Robin Muilwijk has recently printed his Top 5 open source project management tools for 2015 based on the following criteria:

  • Is the software provided under an open source license?
  • Does it have an active community?
  • Does it have up-to-date documentation available?
  • Is the source code available?
  • Are there new or recent releases?

The tools he reviews are:

  1. Tuleap Open ALM
  2. OrangeScrum
  3. Taiga
  4. Odoo
  5. MyCollab

He also gives updates on several of the tools he reviewed last year.

See the full article here.

 

How to Prevent Scope Creep: A Business Analyst Perspective

Written by Kiranmayi Satnarayan

Many years ago a few of my colleagues started working on a project, which was not so complex. It went well for the first few months. The problem started when the team travelled to the client location to give a demo on a module and seek the client’s feedback. The client suggested certain changes that were accepted by the team. The team built the module with the new suggestions incorporated, however, the client suggested a few more changes. After a couple of similar back and forth interactions, the project was ultimately shelved as it was no longer delivering a good ROI.

 

Project Management Career Q&A – Stress!

Work and life are two of the things that many practitioners working in the field of project management struggle to get into a happy balance. With increased pressures to deliver, expectations of doing more with less, project managers are no strangers to feeling overworked and at the point of burn out.

Lyndsay Scott of Arras People suggests four initial areas in your approach to work to start thinking about changing.

Read more here

 

 

IT project management

Project Burnout – How to Spot it and How to Stop it

Written by Michelle Symonds on . Posted in Project Management Articles

IT project managementEven if you are using a controlled approach to managing your projects and consider yourself to be a highly effective project manager with good experience and a proven track-record of successful projects, it is always possible that external factors beyond your control could contribute to a project that will cause burnout for you or your team members.

 

What is Burnout?

 

Burnout occurs in a project where the pressure, stresses and other factors have reached such a level that the project team can no longer work effectively. They cannot complete the tasks they have been assigned to the required standard or in the expected time-frame. They cannot solve problems easily because the pressure they are under is so great they do not have the luxury of thinking time. They are exhausted, de-motivated, pessimistic and no longer think they can achieve their project goals.

 

And the problem with burnout is that it can creep up on you; it is often an accumulation of factors, sometimes unrelated to the current project, that on their own may not be too much cause for concern.

 

For instance, if the previous project was high profile and required maximum effort the team may have embarked on a new project with no time to recharge their batteries, and this type of high-intensity working environment, far from delivering more projects in as short a space of time as possible destroys creativity, energy and enthusiasm.

 

It can be hard to convince senior executives that quiet periods are not wasted time. They can be time to re-think strategies and review approaches to projects, maybe embark on some training. If there is no time to review the last project and learn from it then future projects will simply continue in the same way, making the same mistakes, putting teams under the same pressures until they reach breaking point.

 

 

 

Spotting Burnout

 

As a project manager you should take responsibility for detecting the signs of burnout. You may not be able to change the current project but you might (should) be able to influence future projects to ensure better future outcomes for your organisation and your people. The loss of creativity and enthusiasm that comes with fatigue will not, ultimately, benefit your organisation.

 

There are lots of little signs that individual team members may be starting to reach breaking point:

 

  • Excessive sick days
  • Silly mistakes
  • Increasingly argumentative behaviour
  • Lost sense of humour
  • Cancelling planned days off
  • Poor team relations
  • Excessive over-time
  • Working only minimal hours

 

If you start to see some or all of these signs then take the time to talk honestly and openly to the team, both individually and as a group, to get to the bottom of the real issues.

 

Stopping Burnout

 

A project manager is in a position of influence (or should be) so use that power to the advantage of your projects, team and business. Don’t sit back and let a situation escalate; speak out but make sure you know how to influence those with the power to makes changes to actually make those changes. Constantly moaning about the pressures of work just becomes background noise that nobody will take any notice of.

 

 

Instead make a plan for how you can improve the situation; explain the downsides of not changing attitudes to how projects are run and perceived by senior management. This takes courage, persuasive skills, leadership and vision but these are all characteristics of a project manager’s personality that you should have or, at the very least be cultivating.

 

On a more practical and pragmatic note, make sure your factor in some slack time in all your project schedules.

 

Let us know if you have any other ideas for preventing burnout in project teams or influencing strategies that have worked for you.

Which Project Management Qualification is the Best?

Written by Paul Naybour on . Posted in Default

Hello my name is Paul Naybour from Parallel Project Training. Quite often people ask me which is the best project management qualification for me to take? It really depends on your experience and where you want to go.


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So in this video were briefly going at the main options and help you decide which might be right for you. So you’ve got three streams really, PRINCE2, PMI and APM. And we are going the choose the main qualifications from those main streams, so PRINCE2 Practitioner, PMP certification, the APM introductory certificate or foundation qualification and the APM project management qualification (APMP). And we are going to rank each using our a simple star rating.

How much to you have to learn.

So first thing how much do you have to learn? Well the APM foundation qualification quite easy to pick up and the study guide is on 153 pages long and you can read in a weekend really and in a two day course most people get hang of that and do really well in the exam, so that is quite easy one. PRINCE2 practitioner was that a bit more heavyweight with 343 pages, that you really need to know quite well. So we have given that two stars. PMP is fairly similar weighing in at 344 pages in the study guide, which you then have to know quite well also and finally the PMP ( the PM Bok) weighs in at 415 pages but the not all the content is in the Body of Knowledge, you are probably going to have to refer to a study guide for some extra things are outside those process groups. So that’s got our three star ratings for the amount you have to learn.

How easy is it to pass the exam

How easy is it to pass the exam? Well the APM foundation is a one hour multiple choice and its pretty easy most people do really, really well, so we have given that one star. PRINCE2 practitioners to a half hours, its eight as scenario-based multiple choice questions and the pass rates are really quite high and most people get on with it, but you do have to know the of the book quite well. So we have given that two stars. The APM project management qualification is a three hour written paper, ten short essays from 16. A little bit more challenging, as you have to explain yourself in a short essay. So we have given that three stars. And then the PMP is a four hour, 200 questions multiple choice, which mixes the scenario type questions you see on PRINCE2 with the principles and theories. So most people find that reasonably challenging so that’s are three star rating also.

Prerequisites so what you need before the course.

Looking at prerequisites? So what do you need before you come on the course? Well the APM foundation qualification is designed the new project managers and new team members and so there are no prerequisites. PRINCE2 you need to get foundation qualification first but that’s usually included in the course. So you do that as part of a five day course and most people can manage the PRINCE2 practitioner without too much pre-experienced. For the APM project management qualification, it is good if you have one or two years’ experience, is not mandated but is good if you have one year or two years of project manager first. So we have given that two stars and then the PMP requires that you have 3 to 5 years’ experience depending qualification and 35 hours of training that that’s are four star rating. It’s more rigorous than the others.

Value in the job market?

Okay looking at value in the job market. The APM foundation that one star because it’s a good introduction to project management but it’s mostly the new team members and a new project managers, so doesn’t carry that much weight in the market place. PRINCE2 practitioner is the most widely recognised project management qualification in the market place. The problem is it’s a bit overexposed. It’s very good if you work in the public sector, or are working for PRINCE2 organisation. APMP is slightly more difficult and has got traction but it does depend on the sector working in and whether you’re in construction or defence or some parts of local government. So different sectors, the rail sector for instance, tends to favour APMP. PMP and with the highest rating four stars because it’s recognised around the world, specify the large multinational organisation, especially those based in the US and with a global footprint and PMP’s is probably the one that has the most value.

The best indicators of competence

So which is the best indicator of competence? Arras people did a benchmark report with lots of project managers. Which these qualifications indicate a competent project manager? 36% thought that the APM project manager’s qualification was that the one was the best indicator. 24% went for PRINCE2. 21% went for PMP and 19% went with none. Which is quite interesting give what we just said about the difficulty of the exam. I think it’s because it is UK-based survey and there’s less PMP people in the UK.

Summary scores

So our summary scores. Well the APM foundation qualification gave it two stars. It’s a good easy way to learn how to get going in project management. With lots of practical hints and tips. PRINCE2 practitioner really good if your organisation follows a PRINCE2 methodology or one based on PRINCE2 methodology and but in terms of the job market, everybody has it so it doesn’t really differentiate very much. So we gave that two stars also. APM project management qualifications. A good challenging project management qualification, recognised quite widely in the UK and so we gave that three star, considering it is more difficult than PRINCE2. Then PMP, if you want to have that global recognition and a recognition that you have experience and not just knowledge, we gave that four start.

So that is our overall summary of which are the best project management qualifications for you but really depends what where you are and what you want. So you would like some personal advice and guidance and please do give us a call and we will talk through the options with you. So thank you very much your time and speak to you soon.

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Paul Naybour

Which is your prefered project management qualification?

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Project Management Book

Using the Logical Framework for Project Management Training

Written by Paul Naybour on . Posted in Default, News

Logical framework is specifically designed for development projects. It’s a structured way of linking the overall objective for the project the desired benefits, the overall purpose the results and activities. The aim is to ensure that activities completed as part of the project are clearly linked back to the overall objective of the project and the benefits that the project seeks to achieve. It provides a structured process to think through the objectives of the project based on the needs and strengths and weaknesses of the various stakeholders and parties involved in the project. It provides a step-by-step approach to working with stakeholders to understand their needs wants and ambitions and then identifying strategies which provide real benefit to the intended beneficiaries.

A step by step approach.

Logical framework provides a step-by-step approach to the planning of projects with some easily adapted tools to use at each stage. However it’s not just about the tools the application of the logical framework is about understanding the user requirements in a detailed way and working through the different options to meet those requirements using a structured decision taking process.

Analysis

Analysis of the current situation

The first step is analysis of the current situation. This analysis looks looks at the problem or opportunity from four different perspectives. First is a detailed analysis of the stakeholders using a stakeholder analysis template, SWOT analysis or Venn diagram showing the interaction between the different stakeholders involved in the project. For complex project this stakeholder analysis is not trivial and need to be taken seriously if the root causes of the problems (or opportunity) are to be properly identified. As with everything the logical framework is working through the process that matters and not the final output.

The next step is to understand the problem or opportunity using the root cause analysis. In this way we can identify the actionable root causes which the project could address and the consequences of the problem they were trying to fix. Again working through this problem analysis improve the understanding of the project and project team and ensures buy in of the stakeholders to the final result. Once you have full understanding the problems to be overcome this problem tree, easily translated into an objective analysis which focuses on the actions that can be taken to improve the situation.

Problem Analysis

Once have a clear understanding of the different objectives this will help us to clarify appropriate strategies for the project we can use some simple but effective tools to prioritise and rank feasibility and effectiveness of these competing strategies. From there we can then identify which are the most appropriate strategies for the project to implement.

Planning

Having defined the purpose the project and selected preferred strategy the next is to ensure that the planned activities have clear linkage back to the overall benefit that we hope to deliver. This is done by using the log frame structure the log frame structure shown below links the overall objective of the project to the activities being undertaken. The overall objective of the project is often a strategic development goal linked often to national or international standards. This is supported by the project purpose which is often more local and defines the tangible or intangible benefits to be delivered by the project. The next level down the results or the outcome of the project seeks to achieve finally the lowest level we have activities that produce deliverables as part of the project plan. The logical framework uses a clear the main clincher to make sure that if the activities are completed results are achieved if the results are achieved the purpose is achieved if the purpose is achieved in the overall outcome. This clear thinking is so often missing from projects and products are produced but no benefits are derived.

Logframe Matrix

Assumptions

Key to the logical framework is the use of assumptions. It clearly identifies the assumptions that we make at each level in the objective structure. What we need to assume to be sure that they activities will produce the results that we require? What are the assumptions necessary to ensure that the results produce a purpose expected. The logical framework clearly identifies how the assumptions each level link the activities to the results of the results to the purpose and the purpose to the overall objective.

assumptions

 

Planning

The next step is production of a project Gantt chart. This defines what activities will be done by whom and for what cost. It can also helps identify the resources and the cost the project in detail. They were back in classical project management world and you find many posts on this website about the use of effective planning.

Evaluation and monitoring

There’s an old saying that what gets measured is what gets done. To each level in logical framework we define performance measures and a mechanism to collate those performance measures. So for example we define how we going to measure the results are being achieved and that the purpose is being delivered. In this way logical framework links the activities back up to the overall objective with a clear understanding what the assumptions we make it each level and the measures that are going to be used to evaluate the project.

Delivery Monitoring and control

As with any project monitoring control is really really important. A logical framework as such doesn’t address monitoring control as it primarily focus on planning. However it is important to recognise their plan is only as good as the people who follow it. And so is important as part of a logical framework training to also address how the plan will be monitored and controlled during execution phase of the project.

Parallel Project Training courses using logical framework

As a highly experienced project management training provider ala budget training has been asked by one of his clients to integrate the logical framework into some of its courses. This is proved highly successful in helping teams understand how to apply the logical framework as part of an overall project management approach. This 2-day project management using logical framework course is now available for corporate clients from Parallel Project Training. Full details this course of our own website.

LFA Course Outline

 

Gordon MacKay

Project Management and the ‘Fundamental Attribution Error’

Written by Gordon MacKay on . Posted in Project Management Articles

Q: What stands between a Project Manager and established project objectives?

A: People.

 

It stands to reason, then: findings in the disciplines of Psychology and Social Psychology are as relevant to Project Management as any endeavour necessitating the management, leadership, and coordination, of objective-focussed teams and individuals.

 

Arguably, one of the most significant findings informing these disciplines and, therefore, project management, highlights the prevalence of a phenomenon known as the ‘Fundamental Attribution Error’, and our susceptibility to it.

 

All too often, it reveals, we wrongly attribute behaviours to individuals: we put it down to their ‘disposition’, as opposed to acknowledging the influence of the ‘situation’ in which the behaviours occur. In this, it seems, we may be very much mistaken and may, in fact, be subject to a ‘fundamental attribution error’.

 

In 1961 Stanley Milgram demonstrated the capacity of ordinary citizens to inflict what they were led to believe were potentially lethal electric shocks on helpless victims; led on by the presumed authority and assurances of being held blameless by, literally, a man in a white lab coat…

 

A short foray on YouTube quickly returns both original footage and more recent emulations of this scenario. These experiments exposed the uncomfortable degree to which ‘situational factors’ trigger behaviours starkly at odds with an individual’s apparent ‘disposition’.

 

In 1971 Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University set up an experiment where volunteers were arbitrarily assigned roles as ‘prisoners’ or ‘warders’. The former were ‘arrested’ and handcuffed at home without warning then ‘incarcerated’, and found themselves, astoundingly, within the span of just one week, being systematically humiliated and terrorised, such that the experiment had to be terminated after just one week. Parallels to what occurred at Abu Ghraib abound.

 

Zimbardo’s subsequent book ‘The Lucifer Effect’ (2007), expands upon the power of a situation to trigger behaviours subjects subsequently struggle to explain. The situation, then, may have a lot to answer for. But if the situation can ‘turn the best to the worst’, the question is begged: can it not also ‘turn the worst to the best’?

 

In fact, we may of course turn this phenomenon on it’s head, and do! When coach, mentor, manager, leader, or indeed project manager, draw out brilliant ‘winning’ behaviours and performance, managing the situation or context for this to occur, is crucial!

 

I began this piece highlighting how, as projects managers, we rely on our teams: they are the interface between us and the ‘coalface’; the agents through which our projects objectives are realised, or lost.

 

In turn, wittingly or not, they depend on us; we fail in our responsibility if we do not conscientiously attend to these contextual factors, but it is a domain over which we can exert control.

 

Like landmarks in this domain, the APM BoK v6 ‘Definitions’, Section 2: ‘People’, spans the division between what is designed, and how it is implemented by people, because it is people that make all the difference between success and failure.

 

For example, simply asking how interpersonal skills, communication, and conflict are managed, exposes fundamentally empowering or disabling ‘situational’ factors for the people involved in a project. As project managers, we effectively empower or disable team members’ ability to perform to their full potential. Transactional leadership is by its nature more directive, and while this may at times be necessary, it carries a cost.

 

As Milgram and Zimbardo showed, when authority demands, and gets, mere obedience, the loss of resilience and agility attending autonomy may be too high a price to pay.

 

These insights encourage us to engineer a project environment or culture, where our people are nurtured to thrive – not as automata, inflexibly carrying out our will, but as engaged, resilient, agile and autonomous individuals: committed, mentored and empowered in their pursuit of project objectives.

 

 

About the Author

Gordon MacKay MAPM, MInstLM, holds MBA, BSc(Hons), and BA(Hons), degrees, and has been involved in both strategic consultancy and, as he now practises; in multi-disciplinary project management. For over twenty years, the author has developed and continues to refine his leadership competencies. He has also developed significant skills as Assessor / Verifier and Mentor for the National Vocational Qualifications Programme for Senior Management.

 
He is the author of “Practical Leadership” a book written as a result of his first-hand experiences and aimed at all who aspire to successful Leadership.

 

Project Management Book

Interesting PM Reads

Written by Michelle Symonds on . Posted in News

3 Steps For Harnessing Failure The Right Way

A new book published this month, Fail Better: Design Smart Mistakes and Succeed Sooner by Anjali Sastry and Kara Penn aims to help you create better project deliverables with more lasting and further-reaching impact. By learning from what worked well, and what did not, on a project you can improve your own practice, the habits of your team, and the capabilities of your organisation.

 

Agile improves but does not replace project management as we know it

 

A LinkedIn discussion on The Project Manager Network by Jim Milliken argues that the acceptance of Agile is endangered by the hype from some of its enthusiasts. Agile cannot, all by itself, do what project management does. It isn’t meant to. It is an excellent execution form when a project calls for creative invention amid great complexity and uncertainty – and the situation is suitable for frequent small-scale deliverables. It fits very usefully into the implementation phase of certain kinds of innovation projects, especially in the information technology field. It significantly improves, but does not replace, the essential core practices of project management.

 

Influence without Authority

Another insightful post “Influence Without Authority” by Lynda Bourne on the PMI’s Voices on Project Management blog.  Following PMI’s purchase of projectmanagement.com (previously gantthead.com), the PMI blog has been moved over to that site.

 

When the Solution to Bad Management is a Bad Solution

An interesting read from Glen Alleman’s Herding Cats blog about how the “solution” to bad project management may not actually fix the problem because it will not have treated the root cause of the problem, just addressed the symptoms.

 

Why Project Management Is Like Surviving The Hunger Games

 

For those hooked on the Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy (and who isn’t) Elizabeth Harrin compares writes on her Girl’s Guide to Project Management blog about why project management is like surviving the Hunger Games; the need for a sponsor, a flexible plan, a creative team, a mentor and the need to be resourceful – sounds familiar.

New APMP study guide

Parallel and APM in partnership with new APMP study guide

Written by Michelle Symonds on . Posted in News

Parallel Project Training are proud to announce a new partnership with the Association for Project Management (APM) in producing a new APMP study guide, “APMP, The APM Project Management Qualification Study Guide”.

The guide, co-authored by Parallel’s John Bolton and Paul Naybour, focuses on real-life examples and practical advice for project managers in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way, with the aim of helping PMs pass the APMP exam and manage their projects more successfully. This is the first dedicated APM guide of its type for those studying for the APMP exam.

This new study guide comprises 12 sections based on the APMP syllabus and encompassing all the topics in the 6th Edition of the APM Body of Knowledge (BoK).

Based on the highly successful 2010 guide “Your journey to professional project management: How to pass the APMP” by the same authors, this is a well-researched and proven format that has helped project managers to pass the APMP exam with extremely high success rates and develop their careers in professional project management.

By partnering with the APM on this new guide it is anticipated that it will reach a new, wider audience aiming to grow their project management career.

“APMP, The APM Project Management Qualification Study Guide” will be available from December 2014, but it can be pre-ordered prior to publication.

Why The PM Method Used is Less Important than Individual Competencies

Written by Michelle Symonds on . Posted in Project Management Articles

We all know that the business landscape is changing rapidly – it seems that no sooner have we got to grips with a new technology or product than it is being replaced with a newer, better version. So organisations have to be able to respond quickly to changing circumstances, expectations and needs.

And yet some projects continue to move so slowly that what they intend to deliver is out of date long before the due date. Projects can, and must, change as they proceed but perhaps the real issue is whether they embrace change and react to it positively. The attitude to change has as much to do with the nature of individuals as it has to do with the project management method(s) being employed.

Cost Drivers in Project Management

Some would argue that this is where agile project management comes in; agile proponents will also talk about the collaborative relationships developed in an agile environment but collaborative working is not the preserve of one method or another. No single project management method will ever be the panacea for all ills because all projects are different, corporations are different and people are different. Agile projects are no more likely to succeed than traditional projects if other influences are at play.

More important than debating the benefits of “traditional” or “agile” approaches, is to focus on the people involved.

A good project manager can lead a successful project regardless of the method used, especially when backed up by a good team, but what does this really mean? A “good” project manager or team? Of course they would be expected to have certain skills or experience – they may need quite specific technical skills for an IT or engineering project, for instance, but what else?

What will make a difference to the success of a project is people who can see, and do, what is required in any particular circumstance. This is not an easy attribute to learn if it is not an innate part of your personality. But behaviours can be changed and new skills can be learnt.

It is for good reason that traditional methods of managing projects have evolved so it is important to value their benefits while accepting that the sheer pace of business in the 21st century requires a more flexible approach to project delivery, but also one that focusses on competencies – the skills, behaviours, attitudes and knowledge – of the people involved.

When we talk about a project manager’s toolbox we should be thinking not just of methods and software but also personal skills, soft and otherwise. Perhaps we should expend less energy arguing our corner over methodologies and instead look at how we, as individuals, work and deal with typical project situations – not just our soft skills but our reaction to setbacks, conflict, criticism, etc. But maybe that’s easier said than done…

Tips for New Project Managers

Written by Michelle Symonds on . Posted in Project Management Articles

Are you fresh from a project management course? Are you feeling overwhelmed or excited about the huge range of skills you need to be good at your job? From anticipating problems, to excellent communication to controlling a budget and schedule and dealing with conflict.

 

If you’ve just begun your career as a project manager, you’re about to enjoy a varied, challenging and rewarding career. Here are some great tips to help you get started.

 

Don’t just hear, listen

 

You won’t learn anything by letting information go in one ear and out the other. Now is the time to take everything in. Consider all your different team members (their skillsets, personalities, weaknesses), research project clients and identify the key senior members of management you’ll have to present to. Listen and consider everything around you, then actively engage with team members and colleagues without reservation. The more you communicate effectively with those around you, the more successful you will be in your career.

 

Be proactive and anticipate problems

 

Don’t jump straight into a project without considering all the risks effectively. Project management training courses teach risk management skills and strategies, and now’s the time to utilise those skills. How many problems can you anticipate before the project starts? You will of course come across bumps in the road, but you must experience those bumps in order to learn.

 

Project Management Education

Be a real team player

 

As a project manager you have to work for your team’s best interests and recognise, understand and utilise their individual strengths and skills. You must communicate with your team, especially if you need help. This doesn’t mean complaining to your team that you don’t know what to do, but it does mean calling a brainstorming session to allow your team to pull together and suggest solutions.

 

Know which methodology you’re using and be flexible

 

One of the biggest downfalls of more experienced project managers is the fact that they can take a liking to a particular project management methodology, and then apply that to every project even when it doesn’t suit all the projects they work on. Be flexible with the tools and methodology you use, recognising and familiarising how they work and if they will actually work for the current project you’re overseeing. If the methodology or tool doesn’t suit the project, be flexible and change your approach.

 

Understand your clients and customers

 

Who is the project being completed for? What does your organisation stand for? Who are the customers of your organisation? One of the best things you can do is really dig deep to find out about your clients and customers. In particular, understanding the values of your organisation will serve you well when you’re motivating your team, as you can always create a common goal based on a much broader ideal.

Professional Project Manager

 

Body language counts

 

Emotional intelligence matters – it’s something that comes naturally to some people but has to be learnt by others. If you think it is something you are good at, develop that skill now. Having a great understanding of human behaviour will serve you well in this industry.

 

Consider finding a mentor

 

If there is a mentorship programme at your place of work, get on board. It’s an amazing way to gain support and to learn from someone who has already been there and bought the T-shirt.

 

Savour the fact you’re new to the job

 

One day you’ll be a well-respected project manager who is expected to get it right most of the time. Right now, you’re in a very forgiving environment where colleagues will understand that you’re new to the job. Of course you’re still responsible for your project, but you’re not expected to have full authority so embrace that fact.

 

Get used to things changing

 

Project management courses teach you to be OK with change. You must be flexible and adaptable no matter what the scenario is. Environments, colleagues and projects will change all the time, as long as you embrace that and become OK with improvising you’ll be ready for each and every day.

 

 

Treat others how you would like to be treated

 

Don’t think you need to charge in and lay down the law, asserting your authority to prove yourself. Be kind, be communicative and get to know the people you work with. A likeable project manager will always gain respect from colleagues quicker than someone who has no time to listen or care for how others feel.

 

Gain qualifications and certificates

 

In the past a project manager would have one or two qualifications under their belt and that would be perfectly acceptable. It is still acceptable but you will see more and more PM’s new to the industry coming to the table with several certificates and qualifications. Not all employers care about these qualifications, but many do and taking a few different project management courses to beef up your credentials won’t do you any harm.