Gaby Awad

Current Job/Title: Business and Executive Coach, Speaker, and Trainer

Professional Credentials: PMP, Certified Business Coach from ActionCOACH, Certified Executive Coach from Marshal Goldsmith, Certified Leadership Coach from The John Maxwell Team

  1. How do you describe the role of project manager?

    The role of the project manager is like an orchestra maestro.

    The maestro and the project manager have a big team with different members (players) each having different roles and distinguished skill sets.

    Both the project manager and the maestro act as servant leaders, they both:

    1.  Lead by example and they have the team to develop and grow in potential
    2.  Take responsibility for what the team produces
    3.  They take ownership for the team’s success and failure
    4.  They plan, coordinate, and complete activities
    5.  They are not expected to be able to play every “instrument”
    6.  The communicate in real time with the team

    So project managers connect with the team, they are not expected to execute tasks themselves but to lead their team even if the project manager has technical knowledge.

    The 3 main project manager’s competencies (according to PMBoK guide) are:

     Technical project management
     Strategic and business management

    Reference book: Everyone communicates and few connects – John Maxwell

  2. How do you apply and benefit from your management skills in your life?

    As part of my coaching practice, I explain to my participants that the benefits from the PM skills are huge. PM skills can be implemented in life and in business. Applying PM approach, tools, and techniques, helps the person stay in control of daily life circumstances and business challenges.

    Techniques like communicating with stakeholders and estimating durations, cost and developing a schedule, etc. let you handle daily circumstances differently.

    While coaching business owners, we also work on setting goals together. A simple tool I use is the 1-Page Plan where they use 4 quadrants:

    1. Their WHY (vision and mission)
    2. Their WHATs: to reach your “Why” you need to have clear SMART goals
    3. Their HOW: goals need to be broken down to projects
    4. Their WHEN: projects need to be broken down to milestones and tasks

    It is essential to start at the top with your ‘WHY’. Once the WHY is clear, decomposing into goals, projects and tasks becomes easy.

    Reference book: Start with your Why – Simon Sinek

  3. How did project management credentials help in advancing your career and knowledge?

    Back in year 2010, I left PwC where I was  the Director in Charge of the Consulting Practice. I joined couple of local banks heading their Project Management Office (PMO). These were opportunities for me to learn and apply further project management methodologies and frameworks. I have secured sending 30 team members to take the PM Preparation course and to sit for the exam and I jumped on board and joined them in the accreditation process back in 2013. Being Head of PMO; I became certified myself and even while having 12 years of experience and to continue leading by example; I studied while rechecking the project PMBOK Guide  and I learned with an intention to teach and apply. I took the course and passed the exam: even my own study notes where in PowerPoint slides; because I had the intention to teach PMP. I read, summarized, consolidated and transferred the knowledge to others.

    I benefited from this and became a PMP instructor since 2014.

    By teaching you will learn and by learning you will teach – Reference from Tarzan - DisneyMovie

  4. Can you share with us a successful project you have worked on and its lessons learned?

    Where there is a storm, fishermen fix their nets. In February 2020, I started the project which I have been postponing for a while: having my own online self-paced E-learning platform

    During this challenging project; I have learned new tools, invested time and resources to achieve my goal. My project has been implemented using an Agile approach. It was a success for me to have it completed in a short time (less than 3 months)

    The lesson learned: you will never be ready: don’t procrastinate, “jump and build your wings on your way down”. Start with the minimum plan, use “rolling wave technique” and then develop your plan, iterate and execute as you go.

  5. Any advice and recommendation you can give to other project managers

    The advice I give to all project managers is emphasize on how important to keep stakeholders informed and engaged: since you spend 86% of your time managing stakeholders. Engaging, communicating, and connecting are far more important than delivery within scope, at budget and within schedule.

    By experience; you learn the importance of communicating with the stakeholders: this is the key to success even if you don’t deliver technically on time: managing stakeholders expectations, keeping them engaged by keeping communication flowing is more than 86% of your chances of success on a project.

Gaby Awad