Questions & Answers with Corina Cernaianu
OptimizedIT Project Manager
In today Q&A session, you will explore a specialist thoughts and ideas about:
- How one can develop a project management mindset
- A project management tool vs a project manager
- Impact of project management on business development
- Implementing the “big picture ”vision
Great ideas on how to build a successful mindset and impact our day to day work in a more positive way.
Enjoy the ride!
Project management is a mindset. This mindset is gradually built, developed and nourished
Q: Tell us more about the project management mindset
A: I am not going to support the idea that a project manager is born as such. Although, there is a set of competencies that a successful project manager should possess, a project management mindset can be built from scratch. We are talking about the willingness to create an environment where an organisation and its employees can perform their daily tasks while focusing on achieving its primary goals. Competencies can be developed. Although it requires time and effort, development and lots of lessons learnt, there is a path that one can walk to learn project management. Especially, if it starts by developing the necessary mindset. However, learning doesn’t always guarantee success. This is why we will have good project managers and great ones.
The most valuable information regarding the project management mindset is that a person who has it will always focus on a way to face the unexpected while managing the expected and balancing the two towards achieving an organisation’s goals.
Q: Can a project management tool replace a project manager?
A: Although, I believe that a project management tool is certainly a must in 2021, I don’t believe it can replace the role of a project manager. Managing a project is not just about scheduling and tracking tasks and deadlines. It’s not solely about overseeing objectives and milestones. Try to look at the project manager the same way you look at a travel guide. You are going on a trip during your vacation and you need a guide to walk you through the city, show you the important areas, the nice ones, and recommend you the best places. Without him, you have to own the role and look for yourself. You will find some good places for sure, but since it might be the first time you have this role, you will probably miss some important information about the sorroundings. Regardless of the online tools you have to find tips and tricks. Moreover, you will have to be available to invest time and other resources to take over this “project” and the necessary competencies might not be trained enough to achieve the desired result.
Following the above analogy, we can easily understand why a project manager it’s a role independently of a tool, which can provide even more insight and support while using an appropriate project management tool to oversee a project.
Q: Can you talk about the impact that project management has on business development?
A: From my point of view, project management is not just about completing a project. It’s about balancing the impact of all organisational projects, creating connections between these projects and the overall business strategy. A project is part of the business development process and it supports it through a successful implementation. The main idea is to focus on growing the business and not solely on delivering the project. This is a tricky one, because different projects might be coordinated by different teams from different time zones. Having this in mind, we notice the requirement of having a project manager to oversee all the projects and make sure all actions are aligned to the organisational vision and goals.
Achievements and great success emerge from creating and implementing our strategic vision which we can also call the “big picture “vision.
Q: Tell us more about the “big picture” approach
A: How many times have you had the feeling that what you’re doing is not good enough? You prepared and trained a lot, asked for support and feedback, even got to a certain point in your career, however, you don’t have the “enough” feeling. Sometimes it is due to an inner state related to your feelings and perceptions about yourself. Another very important reason is that you are missing the mindset you had when you started a project. You had a vision or at least a clear goal. Maybe you set up some objectives to clearly help you through the process. You designed a plan and a structure. You know your team and you are mostly confident that you have the appropriate skills to deliver the optimum results. And you do succeed. You get there. But reaching your target doesn’t always imply a successful experience. Success comes from a mix of achieving your goals, delivering results, generating impact and return of investment but also from achieving your personal goals and your team’s goals as well. Success comes from creating long-term impact and nurturing long-term relationships with your peers, customers and collaborators.
But we usually forget the start along the way and one of the reasons why this happens is because we move further away from our “big picture vision” which is also our strategic vision. We tend to forget the details that we see as the support pillars of our entire project. Cultivating and nurturing a big picture approach is one of the key elements that will keep your mindset healthy and fresh, but also ready to face any challenges and always turn to the best solutions to handle any kind of situation.
Q: Is this approach related to the strategic vision of an organisation?
A: As mentioned above, I support the view that the strategic vision of an organisation is more or less the one that I like to call the big picture vision.
Let’s jump straight to an analogy and simply think about the work of a manager. Let’s say he/she coordinates a team of 10, oversees their daily tasks, organises recurrent meetings to keep track of their work and monitor their results. He does some project management but also some team development. During their initial meeting, they have established the goals and each team member’s objectives, the expectations and the deliverable. When we take a look at the manager and each of his team members, everything is clear. He/She knows the responsibilities and the results of every single one of them.
If better explained, we would say that if they all follow the standardised process and do their work properly, they won’t even need a manager. Maybe, but they will always need a manager with a vision. Why? Because the main role of a manager is not solely to coordinate but also to connect the dots of everyone’s work with the overall organisational vision. He/She understands that each employee’s goals result from a general one and it’s 100% impacting the organisation in the long term. He/She knows that each project is a piece of a puzzle which will never be completed without all its pieces arranged in the proper order – which means, all the projects to be delivered successfully.
Therefore, without an educated strategic vision, one that should have an eye on the big picture, too many projects will either be submitted to failure or just delivered without any long-term positive impact.