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Trust Me, You Are in Good Hands

~ By Ann Drinkwater

Yellow sticky note with trust me message

Savvy project managers have radar and can sense and predict events and circumstances. Their brains are gigantic magnifying glasses. They see what others don't. If you have someone like this in your organisation or on your team, it may take a bit to acknowledge their abilities and foresight. Once they have several successful, complex projects under their belt with your company, it is time to trust them to do their job.

Project managers that take their profession and the PMI code of conduct seriously will always give you 100%, and while you it might not be the news you want to hear, they should deliver the straight scoop. They should also be able to alert you to issues that may occur, AKA risks. While everyone may not personally foresee the issues, we should never discount the suggestions and insight provided by these professionals. We hired these individuals for a reason:

  1. Forecast and anticipate events
  2. Tap into their arsenal of experience and knowledge
  3. Reduce issues by following #1 and #2
  4. Assist in the development of others
  5. Successfully manage more complex projects, and more of them

So as project managers, what can we do to ensure our voice is heard and our knowledge is applied? A competent, engaged and intelligent project manager will be able to:

1. Develop a Repository of Project Results

Document and showcase successes, failures and the details surrounding. Be humble and intrinsically analyse all situations. Understanding all the variables to failures AND successes is important.

2. Market Your Successes

Yes, those in direct contact with us may see the great work we do, but they may not truly understand the significance, obstacles that were overcome or general complexity. We unfortunately tend to only take note when things don't go so well. It is our professional obligation to make others aware of successes.

3. Collect Objective Measures

You can't refute numbers and the facts. If you can quantify your successes (percent to budget, schedule, cost savings, etc.), this will speak louder than any other message.

4. Educate Your Organisation

The bearer of bad news or potential bad news may not always be viewed the most positively. We aren't paid to make friends and peace, but to achieve business results. We must reinforce this with our organisations, and the fact that we aren't being negative, just properly analysing the situation and controlling our projects. Of course, we should be polite and diplomatic in all communication and establish strong relationships in advance, so our message is better received.

5. Analyse Your Company's Culture

Some times, no matter how much you know or how hard you work, others will not allow you to do your magic. If you have given your complete effort to items 1-4, perhaps your organisation is not 'ready' for what you can offer. No one wants to hear this, but as professionals, we must treat our careers as another very important project. This may mean making some hard decisions and making sure we are in the right place.

Check out my blog for additional resources on this topic.


Ann's professional focus is information technology project and programme management. She is a certified Project Manager (PMP), a certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and a member of the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Educationally she holds an MS in Technology Management and a BA in Organisational Leadership and Development.

© Copyright 2005-2010 Ann E. Drinkwater. All Rights Reserved.


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