Accidental Project Manager Part 3

Accidental Project Manager Series
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

Part 2 of the Accidental Project Manger series talked about key reasons that you are attracted to project management. So now that you are a project manager, what lessons can you learn from other project managers? Read on for some tips.

Why Are Lessons Learned Important?

Lessons learned is incremental, iterative learning. Learning from project experience is also breaking a cycle; a personal cycle, or helping a project team break an organizational cultural cycle.  If an organization doesn’t: it is doomed to repeat it.Project Management Lessons Learned

Success Factor for incorporating lessons learned:

The first is the NIKE principle, just do it.  Make time for it.  The next is too create your personal learning’s on how to respond to the information.  During commutes on the way home, I would think about my project wins and losses, great moments and dumb moments, next steps and action items.

Acceleration Factor:

Transitioning to thinking to an organizational perspective.  On your commute home you can also be thinking: How else can I serve this organization better?  What additional value can I drive?

Next I want to share key accidental project manager lessons learned.  Let’s start at the beginning of the project life cycle.

Lessons Learned #1: Business Case

A business case summarizes the value a project is projected to provide an organization. It is a structured proposal for business improvements.  It functions as a decision package for organizational decision-makers.

How many of you are required to have a completed business case for all projects?

If there is all this business value provided:it would seem that this practice should be more prevalent. Well: .Life is full of contradictions like me saying this is a brief blog posting.

Another key element to include in the business case: you also need to state the business value drivers that cause your project to have a unique value proposition.  Value drivers are reasons for funding or continued funding and could be:

  • a unique approach to solution adoption; another words usability, new features.  As an example:  There are many discount travel sites out there: what is their unique approach to getting customers to visit and spend money on their website?
  • a solution for end-to-end process enablement; how does your product, process or IT solution allow a person or organization to complete something faster or with reduced staff or cost
  • productivity;  this is a normal value driver but you are actually an extraordinary project manager if you have baseline measurements on how you are giving time or money back to an organization.

Success Factor:

You need to identify the unique value proposition that your project provides and ensure it is aligned with something that is perceived by your organization as important. You will be presenting this information throughout the project at phase gates. Phase gates are an evaluation of the success of a project. Our enthusiasm and our linking ourselves to the success of a project is: ..wrong.  It is healthy for us to be excited about our project.  But it is better for us focus on projects that align with organizational objectives. A phase gate process is not a business event that slows down the project execution by siphoning off resources to prepare PowerPoint slides.

Acceleration Factor:

Sometimes we need to stop the process to complete this step.  This takes a lot of guts. But also ensures you are viewed as a project leader.  Because when the project vision is clear, the strategies and plans become clear.

Keep in mind that you:

  • Prove competency by executing project manager tasks with excellence
  • Prove your leadership skills by aligning project activities with enterprise strategy

See Part 4 for another strategy to improve your project performance.
Rosemary Hossenlopp, MBA PMP © 2008 All Rights Reserved


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