Lessons in Being Proactive

sneak-peek1Once again as an Incognito Project Manager, here are some observations on the Power of being Proactive…


Prior to my coming onto the team, our project manager had been hard at work preparing the way for our initiative.  Many hours strategizing plus preparing and presenting the business case clearly made all the difference for our success.  As a result the project has been well funded, and senior management was well versed in what to expect in terms of schedule and results. 


Such proactivity does not just happen on its own.  It’s kind of a blend of several skill sets that go way beyond the tools and techniques of the PMBOK.  It is truly the “art” of project management.   Here are some of the elements I observed at play:


§      Time spent “learning the ropes” of the organization – Our project manager knew who to talk to and how to get things done.  Because of this investment, our PM was able to help guide and direct us through the minefield of potential set backs with minimal casualties, for which I’m very grateful.


§      Established strategic relationships – Stakeholders and Sponsors knew and respected our project manager.  Because of such strong relationships with IT and the business groups, we received very high levels of cooperation and support in our efforts.


§      Taking action to resolve issues – knowing when and how to act to help minimize the problems that inevitably came our way.  Our project manager kept a pulse on our progress and where we were headed, and provided essential guidance along the way.  Our PM told us where potential problems were, and gave us strategies to help navigate through them once they arose.  Our PM also partnered with us when things got tough, such that we never felt left out on our own.


If you want to be a more proactive project manager, take the time to learn more about the “who” and the “how” of getting things done in your organization.  Make the effort to strengthen your key stakeholder and sponsor relationships.  And keep an eye on your team and the minefield of problems they are about to encounter.  Remember you can usually spot problems before your team members do, and can help avoid or minimize the impact such problems will have on your team members and the overall project.


2 thoughts on “Lessons in Being Proactive”

  1. User Avatar
    Anuradha Subramanian

    I love the bit about “learning the ropes”. Project managers can be most effective when they work from the ground up. This includes taking the time to understand the functional and technical aspects of the product, roles and responsibilities, and the dymanics of the organizations involved. This work builds trust in the project manager and equips him/her with the insight needed to “make this happen”.

    1. User Avatar

      Anura, excellent point. One way to learn more about the organizational dynamics is to create a people network diagram. By mapping out the relationships between key individuals and stakeholders, you can start to see what I call “the lines between the lines on the organization chart.” Consider the various roles people play in your network – like who is your technical expert? Who knows who’s who? Who can I trust to test out my ideas and strategies? And who has the power to influence others? And be sure to include yourself on the chart. It can be a real eye opener!

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