Advice for Junior PMs – #2 – Get uncomfortable

Starting with a new organization or with a new project team can feel daunting.  There are many people many years your senior, and you somehow need to establish that you are not only there to help the organization, but to help these people be successful in their roles as well.  This situation often arises when you do not get to select your project team.

So what do you do to be the boss without coming off as arrogant?  Why, you slip into Project Controller Mode!  All of the sudden, you are not the one coaching and mentoring, leveraging the expertise of the team to plan activities, or managing risks like a boss; you are merely reporting budget and status to your sponsor with the hope that the project “team” can get the job done.

In a strange turn of events, nobody cares that you are uncomfortable.  In fact, more people will care that the team are not working together effectively and are only raising risks when they become issues. Read more of this post

The Importance of a Shared Vision

In a post from my series “Advice for Junior PMs“, I touched on the concept of saying what you mean when working with your project team.  The same concept should be applied when communicating outside of your project team.

There’s a fairly common graphic that gets passed around IT departments, and it’s somewhat self-deprecating.  It shows that project teams tend to not understand what the customer needs – which is endemic of lacking a shared vision.

This graphic makes me cringe every time I see it.

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Advice for Junior PMs – #1 – Say what you mean

Have you tried to move the needle eight days a week without being struck by analysis paralysis?  I have.

It’s not uncommon for certain professions to use certain turns of phrase, but it often doesn’t help non-professionals understand what you mean.  To wit, translating a “come to Jesus moment” from English to Spanish and back results in “Jesus time reached“.

Some PM terms will be legitimate (especially PMIisms).  However, a mature project manager does not try to obfuscate what they really mean with a colloquial turn of phrase (see what I did there?).

A mature project manager says what they mean. Read more of this post

Advice for Junior PMs – Introductory Post

Leading others, leading oneself, and interacting with those with more positional authority than you have can be challenging.  Often, as someone new to the PM role – either later in their career or fresh out of school – it’s hard to deal with the non-technical aspects of project management.

Mentoring – both being mentored and mentoring others – have given me a whole host of seemingly situationally appropriate answers that can be more broadly applied.  To that end, I am going to publish a few of the tips that I have received and have given on a semi-regular basis.

Trust me, I'm a project manager.

Trust me, I’m a project manager.

#1 – Say What You Mean

#2 – Get Uncomfortable

#3 – The Value of a kick off meeting for a small team

#4 – Do not be afraid to communicate risks that have become issues

#5 – How the PMO can help you succeed

#6 – Starting your own Project Management knowledge book

#7 – Keep your lessons learned close at hand

#8 – Your status meetings are boring

If there are any topics that you’d like me to cover, please leave your questions in the comments.

In 10 years, relationships will be stronger

As part of the Ideaca Blogging Network, our theme for the month of August is “How technology changes us: Canada in 10 years”.  While it’s fun to be a futurist, I am still waiting for my flying cars and other sci-fi touchstones that showcase how awesome/not-awesome the future will be.  I have a robot vacuum , but I do not have a fusion reactor in my car.  My phone has more computing power than NASA in 1969, but it has to be charged every night.

In 10 years, I am certain that I’ll want to swap the USB port for a new hardware protocol.

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