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Assisting Inexperienced Project Manager

Fast paced change is everywhere nowadays. Usually, untested but capable folks are thrust into the limelight. They are able to succeed or fail. The latter is regrettable, preventable and might be recovered from, with wonderful effort. The former will be the desired outcome and lays the foundation for a career of excellent confidence and success!

Technology, competition, clients plus a company’s monetary goals continue to demand alter at a rapid pace. Productive alter demands leaders with strong project management skills. At times leaders with character, integrity, a great line management track record and recognized possible are asked to step into substantial project management roles with small expertise. These capable folks have to grow into their new roles which can be especially challenging when their manager is himself not a project management expert.

Within the late 90’s, following a series of organizational adjustments, I was named senior general manager of a highly visible and sensitive treasury services function. At that time, the project manager responsible for converting the function’s program to a brand new image based and Y2K compliant program was also transferred. Taking her location was Ryan, a young, energetic and high possible leader with no important large project management expertise in his background. Two factors compounded the challenge: 1) accelerating the transition and also the project was a should given that the year 2000 loomed and a 2 year project under an additional vendor had not succeeded and 2) my aforementioned lack of powerful project management encounter!

Soon after assuming responsibility for the project, Ryan began to show considerable signs of worry, tension and fatigue. He confided in me that he was losing sleep, and that he was not certain he was right for the job. His overall appearance confirmed his lack of sleep.

I knew Ryan was capable of succeeding. However, this was by far the greatest challenge of his career. I listened carefully during this period of uncertainty demonstrating an understanding of his concerns. I shared with him similar experiences from my past, re-affirmed our confidence in him and my resolute commitment and that of others to his success. I encouraged him to connect with experienced senior project managers to understand about project management greatest practices. I also encouraged him to invest far more time with technical members of the project team to gain a much better understanding of systems. We agreed to meet often to review the progress of the project and assured him that I would be offered for consultation and support all along the way.

Over time, Ryan’s abilities and confidence began to grow and the project’s successes began to mount. Ultimately, the project was the anticipated success envisioned by all. This was in significant component because of his individual growth and overall project leadership. Not too lengthy afterward, Ryan thanked me for my support and guidance and said that he was confident that there could be no project inside the future, regardless of the size and scope that he didn’t believe he could lead effectively because of this experience. Ryan’s prediction turned out to be absolutely accurate! He is currently a extremely valued senior leader having a huge national firm with considerable project management responsibilities.

You may think about this check list if you’re facing a comparable situation:

  • Remind the project manager of your reason for selecting him/her for the role. Show understanding, encouragement and support.
  • Create confidence that success will occur. Construct the leader’s confidence in his/her abilities to cope with troubles and remind them of their previous accomplishments.
  • Make your self obtainable. Know when and where you need to supply guidance. Provide tips.
  • Provide powerful support for reasonable price efficient project management proposals.
  • Encourage interaction with much more seasoned project managers and with project team members, especially those representing unfamiliar disciplines.
  • Ensure that project management methodology is becoming utilized appropriately across the board.
  • Make sure the right project team organization structure, players and communications processes are in location.
  • Participate regularly in project steering committee meetings.
  • Drop in on project team meetings occasionally.
  • Re-enforce learning and reward and celebrate all achievements!
  • Move him or her to the next challenge!

Do you have a leader with strong character and line management expertise in a key project management leadership role facing similar struggles? You’ll be able to assist your associate overcome his inexperience, doubt and fear and attain excellent personal growth! Performing so will develop a loyal and committed long term leader with a broader set of abilities as well as a really productive project!


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