The Lonely Project Manager

Filed under Grab Bag | Posted by PMStudent

We’ve all been there.

  • Your company doesn’t seem to know what structured project management is all about or why it’s important.
  • They don’t care to know.
  • Your department or manager doesn’t see the need to provide ongoing training in project management.
  • Your co-workers aren’t very interested in discussing best practices.
  • You can’t seem to find anyone who might serve as a mentor within your organization.

Lonely by m o d e via Flickr

When I started blogging at pmStudent.com part of the motivation for me was to see if anyone else cared about project management as a formal discipline as I was starting to. ?Until that time, I had just barely heard “project management” be referred to as a formal discipline and most people I worked with who also managed projects either (1) didn’t do it as their primary job or (2) managed their projects fairly helter-skelter and mostly with an operations paradigm. ?It wasn’t so much “plan the work, work the plan” as “get it done when you can, in addition to your regular job.”

None of them wanted to discuss the details of how to influence people who don’t report to you, the theories and practices involved, approaches to requirements and scope definition, etc.

When you feel all alone and like no one else cares, what can you do?

Find Other Zealots

The great thing about being obsessed with any given discipline is that there are plenty of other people who are just as crazy as you are.

About the topic, I mean.

The problem is, they may not be in your department or even your organization. ?If so, it’s time to branch out.

Local project management groups are out there waiting for you. ?If you live in or near a city, chances are there is a local group of project managers meeting at least once a month. ?If not, why not start one yourself? ?You can use sites like Meetup.com to find other people who are interested in project management.

See the video I recorded on finding local project management organizations at http://pmstudent.com/getinvolved

Go online! ?Using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools can be a great way to find people who share your interest in project management. ?You could conceivably form a local group just meeting at a coffee shop or pub with the contacts you’ve made online. ?I don’t recommend meeting at someone’s home (because that’s a bit creepy unless you already know them well); keep the venue at public locations.

In the end, you can start creating interest in project management within your own organization or department, or end up being so well connected and informed that you’ll know which organization to move over to when an opportunity presents itself.

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