Project Managers Need to Think Beyond Their Projects

First published July, 2020

I was chatting with the senior project director at a large local organization recently and he made a very astute observation.  When it comes time to find his next senior project manager, he has lots of great choices, he suggested.  There are many PMs out there that are very good at what they do, they have the right certification, good subject matter expertise and a fabulous track record.   But, for my colleague, all of this is just the baseline.  He is looking for all of these things, plus more.

So, what more is he looking for?  

There are lots of things that could qualify as ‘more’.   Simply, anything that can bring more value to the table than just being a really good project manager will qualify.

Here are a few ideas on how project managers can stand out in the crowd.

  1. Make an effort to understand the business. Reach out to others in order to network and grow your connections beyond your silo, into other parts of the company.  Realize the importance of building these relationships and more importantly, understanding how these people and other areas work together to get work done within the organization.

  2. Make an effort to understand your industry better.  Go beyond your own organization to learn about industry trends, projections and movements within the community.  Attend conferences around your own industry, connect with peers, follow professionals in your field and subscribe to content that will help you better understand your industry.
  • Make an effort to connect the work that you do with the strategic plan of the organization. Bridging this gap between strategy and our day-to-day work is key to inspiring our people, helping them to enjoy their work more, and to ensuring the ultimate success of our projects.  Reach out to senior leaders in the organization to better understand where the organization is headed and how the work they do connects to those goals and objectives.

The better you understand your business and your industry, the more successful you will be.


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