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New to Project Management and seeking advice

Posted: Tue 02 Jun 2015 2:41 pm
by CBenton93
Hi all I'm new here and had some concerns regarding my current position. I have one semester of school left and am very interested in project management, business process improvement, efficiency consulting, and things of that nature.

I am currently an Intern for a small company and have been tasked to improve their processes in project management and any other areas I can offer help. They company is made up of much older people than myself and they are looking for a fresh perspective on things that could help ensure success. The 1st day I followed a project manager around to see how he did things and get a feel for the project process. Since then I have sat at a desk everyday researching project management techniques, inventory control, and really anything that might be useful for the company. They currently use no project management software or planning other than email and word-of-mouth. So after hours of research and working through different programs and applications I found the perfect solution. I presented my findings to the president and one of the main project managers and they agreed the software would be helpful to the organization.

The company is very busy with projects right now and the main thing preventing the application from being implemented is the inability to get everyone together to present the idea so they wouldn't waste money on a program people aren't willing to use (which I understand). However after 2 weeks of working here I have next to nothing contributed and very little to show for how I have provided value to the company.

Am I being irrational thinking that in 2 weeks I could make effective changes? Or do I need to change what I'm doing to make more of an impact?

Re: New to Project Management and seeking advice

Posted: Tue 09 Jun 2015 3:29 pm
by TonyD

You've already demonstrated value by doing what they asked you to do and finding and recommending software for the project managers. It isn't your fault they haven't the time to adopt it yet. I'm not sure how big your company is, but the bigger they are, the longer it takes to implement changes and have them accepted.

Unless you have the backing of a very powerful and influential sponsor for your software, it's very unlikely you being an intern, will be able to get much more experienced and older co-workers to buy into your solution without any trade offs for them. Sadly, that's the reality of the real world in that you'll find people are always resistant to change and especially change from someone they consider their junior.

Just keep your head up and keep doing whatever it is they are asking from you. Change comes slowly so don't expect that in 2 weeks time you'll be able to implement your new solution. As long as your doing what your immediate manager asks of you, you'll do fine.

Re: New to Project Management and seeking advice

Posted: Wed 10 Jun 2015 12:05 am
by begeland
TonyD hit it perfectly...You've already done much as a two week intern. And your ambitious. You'll do well in the long run...but I feel your frustration right now. Change does take time. Try holding identical, informative meetings with small groups in the company. Trying to get all intended end users of the software and processes in the same room at the same time won't happen. Plus, being heavily outnumbered by older, experienced workers who are likely a bit resistant to change will definitely work against you. Once you conduct one or two or three of your meetings, the word may get around that the new guy has some good ideas. Plus, your confidence in presenting the materials and taking charge will grow with each presentation/discussion. And as TonyD indicated, have a sponsor in the company who has your back, supports what you're doing and helps remove roadblocks will make this process alot smoother for you.

Re: New to Project Management and seeking advice

Posted: Fri 12 Jun 2015 4:41 pm
by CBenton93
Alright, thank you very much for the advice. I'm backed by one of the more influential project managers and the president is on my side too.

The company is pretty small and I'm actually their first intern (they are seeing if an internship program would be beneficial to them and the intern). The end users are on projects all day everyday, and will be until my internship is over. However, the few employees that I have had the chance to talk to have agreed the program would help (with the exception of an older project manager who told me I was just giving him more work). I have been told they will give it a try when they have the opportunity, but that it will be after I leave (which seems risky to me considering I have put a lot of time into understanding the program so I would be best suited to help the implementation go smoothly).

As of now I help out with day to day work such as equipment lists, purchase orders, and helping project managers complete projects on-site. Most of the time I'm just be on stand-by so I'm ready if they need something done. I would like to do more for the company, but I'm not sure that will be possible given my limited time here and my little experience.

I'm eager to start making improvements and put my knowledge to work after just sitting in a classroom year after year. So I'm sure that contributes to my impatience.