First, you need to understand the culture, the vision, the mission and the project management structure of your organization. Apart from a myriad of technical and soft skills you have to posses, it equally important to understand the business side of your organization and your department.
Before you start with any project you need to understand the role you have in your organization. In addition, you need to know the position you are on your project management career ladder. The lower you are on this ladder (not that much experience or you have been recently hired), the more time you have to spend preparing for the project. This is ironic because the less experience you have, the more susceptible you are to the influence of others, which can sometimes be negative and hold you back even more. If you are lucky and have good mentors with enough power you will find yourself in the fast lane to potential success. On the other hand, if you are influenced by others in a counterproductive way, or have nobody to help, you will have to work much harder, but will gain bigger rewards in the end.
Azra Duric is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with 15 + years of experience in the IT industry; spanning the government, financial, education and other non-profit sectors. She has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and a Post Graduate Diploma in Office Systems and Data Communications from the University of Leicester, England. Since Azra moved to Canada in 1996 she has been working in a variety of government and non-profit sectors in Ontario and has been professionally working as a project manager for the last five years. She is a member of the PMI-CTT (Project Management Institute Canada Technology Triangle) Chapter and WIPMSIG (Women in Project Management Specific Interest Group). Azra lives in Guelph, Ontario and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about Azra can be found on her blog http://azra-pmp.blogspot.com.