A project manager's job is to deliver value. Achieving the original schedule, budget, and features is meaningless if the customer does not receive value. As with all simple statements, this much easier said than accomplished. Projects managers must assemble adaptable teams that use flexible, lean methodologies. Arrogantly selling the latest technology or tool is narcissistic. Focus on the customer. Be vigilant at ensuring the information is always available for the customer to reassess the project's value and for the project team to reevaluate their proposal.
"I just want to be a project manager. I don't want all that responsibility." The room was silent, save a few exasperated sighs. We all looked around trying to figure out how we would handle the comment. However, there are many levels of project management maturity and only the highest levels require leadership. In fact, the prominent certification process—PMI's PMP®—has little to do with leadership until 2015. So where do we learn about leadership and how can we improve our leadership skills?
"Networking? I am just not good at that." I hear this time and again. With the recent financial issues in Europe, the line is repeated with a frequency reminiscent of 2009. So, it is time to pull out the pom-poms, put on the short skirt, and be the cheerleader chanting its virtues. For those of you that know me, the visual may be a little disturbing, but I conjure it up with your best interest in mind. The fact is, most of us dislike networking. After all, "work" is its middle name. It is, however, how people do business and find jobs. No argument, it is difficult to approach total strangers, publish an essay for the world to critique, or launch a tweet into the ether's unknown, being fully aware there is no way to delete a disgruntled individual's flame-o-gram on your dissertation. It takes guts to air ideas for others to appraise, "like," deride, or amplify. The best way to start, however, is to jump in and immerse yourself. An acquired talent, networking takes practice and it is more than face-to-face interactions.
As most of you know, I am a total convert. Social media is, simply put, cool. I am a Twitter and LinkedIn bigot and may soon be flourishing in Facebook. Last week a long time friend got back in touch with me all because of social media. Hold on, don't stop reading! This is a business blog, not a story about some high school friends getting together and tweeting about eating bagels or sushi. This is about the business power of social media.
My friend works for a multibillion-dollar company and he is frustrated with "these kids" making stupid non-business decisions. Worse yet, they shy away from the company he works for because his company is "too old." I told Claude (pardon for no link, he lacking a Twitter account. Surprised?), "Well you are old. Your fifty-three I am only fifty-two!" There was silence.
Leaders define vision. A business turns vision into value. It still takes a team of executives, managers, project managers, and individual contributors to drive the projects that build the capabilities transforming businesses. Ergo, projects are the enablers for turning vision into value.
People often fail to realize how many actions in life are negotiation based. This is no different for in our work life. From managing projects to negotiating a raise, we do some form of negotiation daily. Implementing a process around negotiation is key in maximizing success. A process ensures collecting the correct information for preparing and proposing the new idea.