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Connect, Collaborate, Perform - PM Best Practices

Lifelong Learning as a Project Manager

 So you think you are good at your job....You've received your PMP credentials and you are getting to work on some great projects for your company.  You're enjoying your work and you've been able to implement some projects that have helped your company grow and expand.

 Well, it doesn't stop there.  I tell my students frequently that they need to think of themselves as a "consultant" even though they have a secure, steady job.  Why you might ask!

 Great consultants understand the following:

  • The job is temporary
  • Continued work with a current client relies on how well the project was delivered
  • Success isn't just about how well the project manager performs his/her job--it is about whether or not the project delivered the results expected
  • There may a moment where the project manager must CHOOSE to close a project
  • There is no expectation to be working with the same team twice

 So why would this be important to a project manager that isn't a consultant? A great project manager must understand exactly the same situation.  A great project manager must go into a project knowing that the work is temporary and that their performance is ONLY measured on the project deliverable and not on how well the project manager managed a risk register.  A great project manager also understands that you cannot treat all teams in the same manner.  

Because of this environment, a great project manager must be a lifelong learner and approach every project as follows:

  • Go into the project knowing that there will be something they don't know
  • Be a quick study on the industry and seek out those within the organization that can help navigate the nuances of that industry
  • Understand personalities and learn who the team is and how they have operated in the past.  The project manager must be observant and respond to the slightest change in attitude or mannerisms of each team member.
  • Be fearless for their team.  There will be times of conflict and every situation brings with it unique challenges.  Willing to investigate and address appropriately is key.

Some of you may think that you have the answers, especially if you are in a corporate environment and working with similar teams and stakeholers day-to-day.  I challenge you to be even more reflective in your own actions and seek out new ways of addressing the same issue. No two situations are exactly the same.  No two teams inclue the same resources.  Nearly all projects involve change and change management, and the changes being made will ALWAYS be different. Keep your eye on the goal, but be observant and reflective in order to navigate appropriately for the project you are on today.



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About Diane Altwies

Diane Altwies is the Chief Executive Officer of Core Performance Concepts Inc. (CPC), a training and consulting firm with a proven track record of delivering completed projects to the marketplace through effective leadership of multi-disciplinary teams with a strong customer focus. She has more than 20 years managing software development projects, and over 15 years experience in the insurance, financial services, mortgage lending, and healthcare industries. She is an author of three books Achieve PMP® Exam Success, Achieve CAPM® Exam Success, and Program Management Professional and has developed PMP® exam preparation materials which are licensed to PMI Chapters throughout the U.S and to individuals and corporations around the world.
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