Project Management – who is it for?

I was planning for a workshop with a group of doctors and was reflecting about the connection between project management and professional staff. I guess I have worked with all types of professionals from doctors to librarians from engineers to social workers from actuaries to surveyors. The list is very very long indeed!

I am often asked when I am out socialising with people I do not know; what do I do? I explain that I help companies and individuals deliver projects on time, to budget and with the right results. I explain I do this through training, coaching and consultancy support as well as speaking at conferences. The inevitable reply is; “so your focus on IT projects then?”

In reply, I ask a series of questions of them usually around what they do and what is current in their companies. Suddenly, they realise they are involved with projects!

The current economic climate has resulted in many job losses. People are out searching for a new job and in a relatively short space of time I have spoken with many. I suggested they treat job search as a project. I go through a process where they among other things they:

• have a clear objective
• identify key stakeholders
• identify and develop risk strategies
• develop a practical plan to attack the job market

You would be surprised how their shoulders straighten and they get a spring back in their steps, they are in control using project management tools and techniques.

On a project management event we ran a woman told the group that her monthly shop was a project and went on to highlight all of the links with the project management framework we were using. The group were really surprised by their links she made with project management.

A very well project trained friend used his skills to plan his daughters wedding. It even included a calculator looking at costs hourly of running the happy event!

What I am trying to show here is that project management is not simply for those engaged in delivering IT projects; the tools and the techniques can be used in everyday work or in your private lives. These examples here prove it. But the perception is still that of it being IT “related”.

Maybe this is why project management is not seen as a universal tool for everyone to use? Maybe this is the reason we need more professional staff to be trained in project management tools and techniques. Maybe this is the reason that project management has the reputation it has!
P.S. Since writing this blog I came across an article about Olympian Stephanie Trafton. She won a gold medal in the women’s discuss in Beijing. Now she like me is biased; she is a project manager. However, she suggests that: … athletes would benefit so much from project management training and more specifically project scheduling. Many athletes can envision success but most do not take into consideration the little steps along the way that must be carefully planned and skillfully executed. Living proof of the need for all of us to be using project management and its tools everyday. Read about Stephanie’s success here

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One Response to Project Management – who is it for?

  1. Great post! I fully agree as I was doing project management for many years without knowing it was called that, or that there was a formal discipline out there with tools and techniques. My toolbox was mostly general people management skills and making it up as I went along. I would have been at least 2 times more successful had I known then what I know now.

    Josh Nankivel

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