I am a believer in the power of project management.
As a professional project manager for nearly twenty years, I have witnessed project success drive business results. I have also proven that project management can change lives and help achieve personal transformation. Now I am sharing some practical tips and techniques that you can use to help achieve your own personal goals, live your best life and become a PM Believer.
Project Manager? What’s That?
I had another PM Believer post all written and ready for today, but I decided to make an eleventh-hour change to address a different topic. Instead, I am going to talk about something that I haven’t been doing well as a project manager.
Here’s a recent conversation that I had with a friend…
“Tony, what do you do?”
At first, I was a little meh about this because I hate this question (see my blog What Do You Do?). But, I knew what the person was asking, they wanted to know about my “day job” so that’s how I answered.
“I am a project management consultant.”
I could see that my friend was processing that answer a bit, so I jumped in and clarified a little bit.
“I work for a consulting firm to manage projects for clients.”
Her face still looked confused and then she spoke up and confirmed that she needed more.
“I don’t know what that means,” she said.
Despite having a published book and a weekly blog that talks about project management, I have been doing a very bad job of explaining my profession to others in person. Approaching from an empathy-first point of view, it is a little complicated to understand if you haven’t worked with project managers before.
I want to use today’s PM Believer to help provide a clearer answer to this question.
What is a project?
Projects are temporary endeavors undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. That clears it right up, right?
Said differently, a project is basically another word for a goal.
How do companies use projects?
Companies have lots of goals that they want to accomplish.
Maybe they want to implement a new software package. Maybe they have acquired a new company and need to integrate that companies people, processes and technology into the new parent company. Some companies want to roll out reorganizations. Maybe they want to launch a new product line.
When a company wants to accomplish a goal or make a change, they use projects.
There are other types of projects that you might also see in companies including the creation of strategic plans, building new buildings, moving office spaces and rolling out new employee benefits programs.
How else can projects be used?
When I launched PM Believer about seven months ago, my goal was to help share how to apply project management techniques to personal goals. The same powerful tools and techniques that help companies can help you achieve your goals too.
If there is a goal to be accomplished and there is a clear finish line, a project can be used to make it happen.
What is project management?
Project management is a set of processes, tools and techniques used to plan, execute and monitor project success. By applying this same toolbox of tools to project after project instead of trying to figure it out fresh every time, the chances of success are improved.
My summary of the steps in the project management process are:
- Set a SMART goal
- Build the plan that works for you
- Measure progress every day
- Expect and plan ahead for problems
- Don’t go it alone
- Enjoy the journey
What is a project manager?
A project manager is a person who is responsible for applying the project management process to the project to achieve success.
Some project managers are formally certified Project Management Professional, but the vast majority of people who manage projects are not certified.
If you manage a project to achieve a goal, you are a project manager.
What kind of skills and training do project managers need?
Most project managers have been trained (formally or informally) in how to use project management tools and techniques.
Project managers usually specialize in a certain type of projects (technology, construction, etc.) and the most effective project managers have some degree of expertise in their specialty (see Do Your Homework).
Project managers also usually have a breadth of knowledge and experience in the various disciplines required for the success of projects in their specialty. For example, as a technology project manager, I also have some experience with finance & accounting, legal & contracts, marketing, human resources and other related areas. I don’t have expertise in nor could I be an effective practitioner in those areas, but I have some exposure.
I know that this week’s PM Believer is a little bit longer than most and deviates a bit from my normal messages. But I hope that this helps demystify what project management is and makes up for my terrible in-person explanations.
Are you ready to be a PM Believer?
Project management is a valuable tool for achieving goals. But, what is a project manager and what is project management? Let’s demystify things a little bit.
How have you applied project management for your personal success? Tell me about it at OperationMelt.com and make sure to join my email list to have updates delivered to your inbox weekly.
Make sure to help your friends achieve their goals by sharing this post on your social network and by following me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.
Want to know more about how I changed my life with project management? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.
About Operation Melt
Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.