A project manager I know was working on a short-term project. The project team decided they needed some extra help, and I just happen to have the skill sets they required. The project lasted just three months, but it only required six weeks of my time, based on the skills I was providing. Working on the project gave me a great opportunity to observe how someone else manages their projects.
I tried to pay attention to the differences in style — how does my friend manage projects compared to me? How are the issues managed?
How are people managed? How is the analysis managed? I was especially interested in how my friend dealt with the minutiae of details… keeping track of all the needs, the scheduling, the scope creep, etc.
What I noticed more was how weak my skills had become. I hesitated a lot more on tasks, and I second-guessed myself more often on how to do things. I actually found myself asking for assistance in many cases, just to be sure. It was a big eye-opener. Yes, I sort of knew how to do things, but there were some tips and tricks I was unaware of. Fortunately, everyone was very helpful and treated me quite well, and they helped out when requested.
I got to compare my standards with others: how they worked, how they analyzed the problems and dealt with the issues, how they interacted with others, how well they managed their time, etc. No huge surprises, but a pleasant awakening. I have a renewed respect for those in the trenches! And it was fun. I plan on incorporating this rejuvenation on a regular basis. Keeping your training up-to-date is always important, for mind and soul.
Brian has graduate degrees in Oceanography (M.Sc.) and Finance (M.B.A.) as well as PMP certification. He has published numerous articles and manuals in the field of management science with particular emphasis on project management and decision making. Brian has been involved professional development training since 1999.
This article was originally published in Global Knowledge’s Project Management Blog. Global Knowledge delivers comprehensive hands-on project management, business process, and professional skills training. Visit our online Knowledge Center at www.globalknowledge.com/business for free white papers, webinars, and more.