Improve Project Results, Boost Your Career
A project’s success is defined by an array of factors. One of the most important of these factors is how much business value it truly delivers to stakeholders. For project leaders, having a great track record often translates into new career possibilities. So creating a healthy bottom line for organizations helps project professionals to be well positioned for the next promotion, the next opportunity or the next job move.
How a project gets done is integral to its ultimate success, and savvy project leaders have an array of possible approaches at their fingertips. Here are several key factors that define not only how work gets done but also what strategies and initiatives are even possible:
- Is the project transformational or incremental in nature?
- Is the team capable of the required speed?
- How are decisions being made?
- Does the governance and oversight model match the project needs?
For program and project managers, answering these questions means taking a big picture look at existing parameters and then determining the best possible approach for a project to deliver the most value. In this way, they are able to deliver the most value as a high-performing project leader. These project innovators understand that every project faces completely different challenges, and to deliver the best results, they will need to tailor an approach to meet a project’s specific needs.
Emily Luijbregts, a project manager at Siemens PLM Software in the Netherlands, says that learning different delivery methods can open the door to a whole range of new career opportunities. She says understanding predictive, agile and hybrid techniques helped her deliver projects more successfully—and improve her prospects. She states, “The value behind multiple delivery approaches and actually understanding the different types of methodologies that you can use is so important as a project manager in today’s market—not only to make yourself more versatile within your company but also to make yourself more employable.” She also believes that by identifying and filling knowledge gaps, one can be prepared for future roles—and outshine the competition. In short, expanding one’s expertise is a great way to stand out.
There is really zero downside to learning new approaches such as agile and hybrid, according to Andy Kaufman, president of the Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development Inc. in Lake Zurich, Illinois. He says, “It allows us to connect dots better, and ultimately, it’s all about delivering more effectively to the customers.” Having more options available is a benefit worth having, as one can experiment and determine what works and what doesn’t. And that lets project teams pivot when they need to and ultimately wastes less time and money.
In addition to technical skills, project leaders also need to develop leadership skills and business acumen in order to succeed. Nelson Rosamilha, head of project management at Ericsson in Sao Paulo, Brazil, suggests that understanding an organization’s culture is key to choosing the right project management approach. He says, “You can choose or pick up whatever methodology you need for the project. But if you do not have your correct leadership style that matches with the company culture, it will not work.” He adds that understanding what value the stakeholders are expecting is critical. Regarding the project management skills and capabilities that are going to be most valued for project and program managers who want to succeed over the next few years, he says, “We, as a project manager, should think more strategically. We should deliver a project to our customer, but first we should ask them, ‘What is success to you?’ And we need to hear our customer and deliver the project based on the customer’s success—not based on what is written in the contract.”
The bottom line is the more willing an organization is to experiment with a broader range of approaches and strategies, the more successful its projects are likely to be. And when projects are successful, doors open to new career opportunities for project leaders.
To learn more about increasing project success along with career opportunities, check out Leadership – Improving Project Results on Projectified® with PMI, available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play music or PMI.org/podcast.
Digital Exclusive article developed for Project Management Institute, Inc. by staff content writer Deryn Zakielarz.
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