Did you know that good protect management can make dreams come true?
I have proven that you can use project management to literally change your life. Now I am sharing some of the tips, tricks and best practices I have learned in my project manager life in hopes to help us all manage projects better.
My goal: to create a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness!
One of the core premises of project management is that the craft is universal and you don’t have to have subject matter expertise to be an effective PM. Whether building software, building a bridge, remodeling your house or managing a weight loss project the same techniques still apply. You don’t need to know the subject matter to manage the project.
While I agree conceptually that the techniques still apply I disagree that you don’t need to know the subject matter. As a project manager you are simply more effective when you understand the domain in which you are working. You really would not want me managing a project to build a bridge even though I know the core techniques.
Does this mean you can only ever work in a space where you already have expertise? Absolutely not. But it does mean that, if you don’t already have expertise, you need to prioritize getting smart very quickly.
When I started my fitness project I wasn’t an expert and really had no idea how to live a fit life. But I ended up being very successful because I focused effort on getting smart. I employed the same tactics when I learned how to be successful in my day job roles in marketing, transformation, government and now healthcare. Here are a couple of practices that have worked well for me.
Start any new project management role by onboarding with the team and stakeholders around you. Sit down with each of them for a meet & greet meeting. Get to know each of them and what they do. Ask how they each work together. Understand their vision for what good project management looks like to them. In short: rely on the experts to provide their input as a good starting place for getting smart.
After you know who the people are spend some time understanding their work first hand. Immerse yourself in the work that people are doing to be successful in the space you are trying to learn. By seeing the work first hand you will build perspective on how things work and you will get smarter. Similarly, in my fitness project, I followed people on social media and observed other people and their fitness routines to help build my own.
Related to observation is reading. Read everything you can related to your project, your industry, your company and any other related topic. The more information you can take in and digest the more quickly you will build expertise in your field. Reading is important so don’t shortchange yourself on building knowledge through reading.
Getting smart isn’t a one time activity, you need to keep learning. One important tool to keep the learning going is mentoring. Find a mentor in your space who you can leverage for ongoing questions, advice and guidance. By utilizing an expert mentor on a long-term basis you can continue to fortify your knowledge and be increasingly successful.
Before you know it you are going to be a subject matter expert in your space. This means you have a new responsibility – in addition to applying the knowledge to do a good job. You are now available to be a resource to help others get smart. Be very generous with your expertise and look for opportunities to teach others. Not only will you help others get smarter but you will help further increase your knowledge.
Are you ready to get smart in a new and unfamiliar space? Apply some of these techniques and you will be an expert before you know it. That expertise will be a crucial asset to being a more effective project manager.
Want to learn more? Grab your copy of Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds in Under a Year in eBook or paperback. Visit OperationMelt.com/book/ for details.