Project Management: Happily, Ever After
- Annu Gupta, PMP
Annu has 12 years of experience in IT with a longstanding career in technology, operations, management and organizational development.
I was listening to the song. "Happily, Ever After", from “My Forever “ when a thought struck me “Is Project Management really a happily ever after story?”
Being from the IT industry, a Technical Specialist in particular, my world revolves around my laptop, while working 24/7 shifts projects. To me, the journey of Project Management is like a tightrope walk where one has to become good at Leadership, Team management, listening, communicating, negotiating, people management, risk management and the list goes on.
When I started my Project Management journey, everyone said Project Management is all about 47 Processes, 5 Process Groups and 10 Knowledge Areas and that’s it. I happily jumped into it, only to realize later that Project Management is as vast as an ocean and the deeper you go, the more mysterious it gets. Every day is exciting without any clue about what the future holds for you. Will it be something venomous or will you find a treasure.
Initially understanding concepts like ITTO’s seemed like solving a Rubik cube puzzle, WBS, Critical path, Workaround, EVM, Simulation, all of these had to understood and aligned so as to solve the project management puzzle.
I was able to learn project management concepts in a distinct way by applying the concepts not only at a professional level, but also in a personal way while trying to balance priorities in the project called life.
Project Management has taught me to be a good Integrator - Collecting sources of learning, growing and learning from experts globally, Networking, Blogs, Webinars, applying right strategies and eventually making things work.
I have a well-defined scope in my life now unlike earlier which made me have clear sense of direction of what to achieve in my life. This scope helped me create boundaries and be specific with my long and short-term goals.
Time and Cost Management
Time Management helps me to be disciplined in my life. I realized the importance of tracking my actions. My study of Cost Management, helps me manage my finances better. Not just in the office, but at home as well. I am planning, implementing and tracking various kinds of budgets.
I’m very conscious of Quality, now that I know that quality is not an afterthought to be checked later, but is something that has to be built into the product or service. I take extra pains to validate and inspect my actions, and this has created a platform to improve myself while I take corrective action.
Resource Management is about how well we can manage & develop a team so that the importance given to relationships is as important as that given to the task that has been assigned to the individual.
Communication and Risk Management
Communication Management is all about being clear and consistent in all interactions. I follow thoughtful thinking – Listen -Speak and Vice versa.
And the one area which I always neglect in my day to day life is taking Risks. Project Management has taught me planning things beforehand can help me manage risk. I can now use 4 different strategies (Accept / Avoid / Mitigate / Transfer) to manage risk both in my personal and professional life. I also learned to grab the opportunities which come my way by using an Exploit / Enhance / Share / Accept strategy.
Procurement has taught me about how important it is to scrutinize the terms and conditions of every purchase decision. I am in a position to look at the big picture and the impact that each procurement decision has on the overall project.
Stakeholders management sounds easy but is very complex in reality. Whenever I meet someone who is great at stakeholder management, I become aware at a subconscious level about how to manage everyone as a potential stakeholder.
The more I learn, the more confident I become so that when I look around and see leaders in this field who have achieved great things. I ask myself if I am growing as a force to reckon with. And the answer has always been a resounding YES.
I started learning new things every moment by following the footsteps of great leaders and amazing mentors, people with efficient and effective leadership qualities in their own accord and their own unique experiences.
We have internet as a boon - in various ways e.g. PMI site, Blogs, PMI Chapters, Social Media Platforms, Mobile apps, etc are available, where we can connect globally with experts around to share thoughts and connect. With the advent of technology Project Management has become easy but again the artificial intelligence also needs human intervention!
Project Management has taught me the following
1) There is no age to stop learning – So learn continuously
2) Be willing to help and support anyone at anytime
3) Mentor and be a torchbearer to those who need help and guidance
4) Learn how to find solutions even if it means standing alone against heavy tides
5) Learn, Grow, Share and Care
6) Don’t differentiate by Age, Religion, Gender, Ethnicity, Community. Everyone is unique in their own experiences
7) Learn to smile, even in times of distress and stress
8) Follow the mantra - Aspire and Inspire
As Mother Theresa rightly said, the smallest drop can still create ripples in an ocean. and make a difference. Being new to Project Management can really influence my journey with the above thoughts. I met few PM’s who have mentored me by taking time out of their busy schedules, and guided me like a torchbearer. I am really exploring and embracing project management and hope that each project I handle will be a “happily ever after” Project.