My 50k Foot Project Management Overview
March 26, 2009 Leave a comment
I have managed projects my entire career, but in 2008 when I stepped into the world of job transition after being at the same company for a several years, it was challenging to understand how to prove them on my résumé. The reason for this was because many of the projects I led were on the business (vs I.T.) side, which isn’t always as structured of a process, and I was using terminology specific to that organization instead of the project management methodology. Furthermore, sometimes I led projects while other times I led the change in behaviors that were needed as a result of what was being implemented. So I decided to become a PMI Certified Project Manager.
For those new to project management, it is confusing because we deal with loads of ambiguity and have to acknowledge the uncertainty that comes along with it. We are facilitators who bring it all together with people that don’t report to us, but who are accountable for activities, project tasks and deliverables. We also deal with combined issues of managing project artifacts, analyzing risk, managing the time, cost or scope changes, tracking issues and decisions that need to be made, while keeping Sponsors, the Steering Committee and Stakeholders informed and engaged. We make decisions about allowing a project to unfold with many unknowns, or to ensure it stays on track.
Despite the ambiguity, what we do know about projects is that there is an understood beginning and a clear outcome.
The real opportunities are what happens between planning and implementation because that is the moving target. In addition, every client has their own standards by which they manage projects. The tools will be different in each scenario, but the tools are not important because we have to use the right amount of project management knowledge in order to be successful.
According to the Project Management Institute, there are 5 internationally recognized best practices or stages of project management. These Processes include:
- Closing out
These 5 phases give us content, but it is often non-linear because so many things happen concurrently. We need these phases because we can’t audit ourselves if we don’t have a process to know the outcome. Each of these stages involve re-working and redesigning the model to close gaps and improve the project fluidity. Each one of these 5 phases is a progressive plan that gets touched many times. As the project moves along it will expand as the momentum of the project picks itself up.
By passion, I am a researcher who loves the problem solving that goes with bringing it all together and then be a valuable resource for others. I also am an organizer. Often, before I start anything I want to understand “the why” behind things, not because I want to have all of the answers, but because I love the process of learning and how it helps me grow.
Once I understood this context I can apply these 5 phases as a model for many things in my life including job search because when I look at the chart from the Project Management Book of Knowledge (affectionately referred to as the PMBOK), I see exactly how I am toggling between all 5 project phases at any one given time. My résumé is like the Statement of Work (SOW) that eventually becomes the project charter and getting it just right is an art, not a science. This context helped me to paint a picture for others, of the things I do really well when I was in transition.
Please comment below: What is it that you do really well?