Friday, April 29, 2011

How do you continue to grow as a Project Manager?

So you are a PM and have been for years right?  You have your PMP certification and you are always on the lookout for PDUs, right?  Then maybe you obtained a Six Sigma certification or some other certifications …  now what is next?!?

If you find yourself in this rut here are my tips:

Start up a PM Knowledge Book.  It can be a binder or an electronic means to capture information.  Save interesting articles, links, how to’s or even fun games you have tried out in some of your classes you have attended.  Another possible way to do this is start a blog.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone back to my blog to review something I wrote up after someone asks me a question on a certain aspect of project management (all of those links to other good pieces of information are also very helpful).

Get more training.  Look for different classes in things like communication, finance, business and taking a refresher course in Microsoft Project every couple of years cannot hurt!

Read blogs, books, magazines, listen to podcasts, and try out new trial versions of PM management tools.  This will help you to keep up on the ongoing trends in project management. But when will you have time to do this?  Schedule time for yourself and pick a couple of  blogs or podcasts to review every week.  After you do it for awhile you will start to get use to your new routine.  And you may surprise yourself as your thoughts flow out into the comments of blogs you’re reading (see you are now really getting involved).

Network with other PMs, ask them how they manage their projects. You can learn a lot of things from seasoned PMs.

Review profiles of PMs on linkedin and see if you can find new ways to build your profile (or resume), or you may find out about classes others have taken or purpose a question to the community for feedback.

Finally, give back. Whether it is mentoring a PM, working with your local PMI chapter, or donating your time to manage a community project.  Once you get to this stage that PM Knowledge Book you have been keeping will really pay off!

Notable quote:

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
-Benjamin Franklin 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mentoring Project Managers

Over my career I’ve had several opportunities to mentor project managers and recently my local PMI chapter put together a mentor/mentee program.  I decided to toss my hat in the ring as a mentor and shortly after that they matched me up with Joe.

My first meeting with Joe was super informal.  It was a meet and greet where we went over our backgrounds, what was going on in our lives and what we were expecting out of this program.  Like any good meeting we both left with a “to do” list for our next meeting.

At our next meeting we started with a little show and tell with what was on our “to do” lists, came up with some things for next time and ended with a little coaching on how to persuade the deciders on doing things a new way (new PM process).

I do truly enjoy the opportunity to work with others to see how their organizations are running projects and hopefully I can learn something and they can too.

My tips for mentoring PMs:

Feedback!  Ask them to request feedback from their team members and information on how the project management process is going in their organizations.

Roll play!  All PMs have team members that will be confrontational on an issue.  My suggestion to help them is to find someone to roll play with so you can practice on how the decision will go down.

Crisis!  When the big issue comes up in your project, take a deep breath and then get the right people in the room (on the phone) to discuss it.

Communication!  You need to be a master of communication and if your team is not aware of what is happening in your project you need to come up with new way to communicate project details.

Training!  If you are new to project management or you already have your PMP or other project management related certifications you need to keep building your knowledge and keeping it fresh!  There are a ton of classes, books, podcasts and blogs out there to help you with this.  Many times scheduling a class for a PM will keep them focused on building their career with their current organization.

Note able quote:

"Be the change you want to see in the world." -  Gandhi