You are not an accident

A powerful statement made by Brett Harned at DPM:UK conference in Manchester last week.

This immediately struck a chord with me. I’ve often wondered to myself why and how I’ve ended up in a career in project management.

Regardless of how we found ourselves here, our projects need us.

Our skills are sought after, we’re an essential part of the team, experts in our field. It’s so easy to forget that.

So why do our teams need us? I think Brett’s 5 principles for the DPM community cover it better than I could so I’m going to recap on what those were.

We are…

Chaos junkies

I’m not a fan of the term chaos junkies myself but I understand and agree with the sentiment, PMs make order out of chaos.

Our depth of experience across projects means we know where we can bend the rules and what processes work.

We thrive on problems because we know how to solve them.

We acknowledge that tools have their place but we know we have to manage with our minds.

We know how to bring the best out of our teams and provide them with the structure which will support them to do their best work.

Multilingual communicators

PMs are T-Shaped individuals, we need to have a broad range of skills and knowledge and be confident in linking up different perspectives from different specialities.

We look to our teams for the depth of understanding but our breath allows us to speak from a place of empathy and expertise. Yes, you’re an expert.

“Many leaders today, however, feel that T people are better at fostering the diverse connections and conversations that bring exceptional ideas to the surface” Source: Forbes

Loveable hardasses

None of us want to be known as inadvertently mediocre.

We need to challenge bullshit when we see it and we need to stand up for our clients and our teams when it’s easier to stay quiet, we need to learn to speak up.

It’s then that we’ll earn the respect we deserve.

We are an active member of our teams

As Brett put it

We manage the building, not the build

Our focus is on creating and fostering a perfect working environment, free of unnecessary stress, conflict or confusion.

We’re concerned with the strategic path & success of our projects as well as the budget & timeline.

We help ensure we keep our teams on track, working on the right stuff at the right time.

We’re quiet visionaries, we’re actively listening and taking cues from our team and clients.

75 percent of organizations rank project manager leadership skills as most important for the successful navigation of complexity in projects. Source: PMI.org

Consummate learners and teachers

Working in an industry which moves so fast, you have to be adaptable and flexible and open to new processes.

We push our teams to find clearer paths to success in the face of that change.

We learn from one another, we don’t hold secrets — we share what we know freely in the hope that others will benefit from what we have learnt.

The DPM community is one of the most supportive I’ve come across, I’ve had opportunities to travel, make new friends and write and share my experiences with others.

I’m excited to see the DPM community develop a set of principles our discipline can strive towards and be proud of.

Be confident. Be a leader. Make work fun.

You can view Brett’s slides here https://speakerdeck.com/brettharned/army-of-awesome