In these times when everyone is worried about their jobs and their futures, one question I hear from project managers (PMs) is how they can make themselves more valuable for their organization. Some have told me that they are extremely uncomfortable with the lack of control of their destiny. This is the most troubling comment I have received.
I understand the feeling of having no control. However, there are steps a PM can take to become more visible to the right managers. Here are some tips that have helped me in the past.
Take on the problem projects
If you feel that you are not taken seriously, or that it is a challenge to convince management that you can take on the problem projects and deliver them successfully, then take on the problem projects. I am not suggesting that you take on ALL of them, but pick one or two if the projects are reasonable in size. You will have to do some investigation at first, especially if the project has already begun the execution phase, because it may be too late to volunteer to run that one. However, if you find a project that is still in or has just completed the initiation phase and you know it will be challenging to manage, volunteer to be the PM. In other words, step up and deliverand do so with confidence.
That means you have to do your homework before you volunteer. Ask internally why this specific project is considered challenging. You want to make sure that the project has been estimated properly and that you are not getting into a hornets’ nest. You want to especially ensure that you will have access to management and that you have the proper resources to successfully run the project.
With access to management, you need to do your due diligence regarding what this project needs to be successful. Whether it is a specific resource, additional funds, or a stakeholder analysis. Get management involved early and get their buy in. You see, when I say becoming vocal, what I mean is to become the leader that management needs to complete this project successfully.You must also get the project sponsor involved early and make sure that that specific stakeholder is on your side and believes that you are the PM to run the project to its successful end.
Here is the important part of this discussion. If you are the leader, as you should be viewed, you must also be the instructor. You must be ahead of everyone regarding the project and you must outline the steps the team needs to take deliver the tasks they are responsible for. Your team members for this project expect you to manage and lead, but you must also bring the extra benefit of being instructional. This doesn’t refer to the product you are delivering, but rather offering advice to other project members as to how to handle the client as well as how to manage the project sponsor and the demands coming from that stakeholder.
I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine. You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.