Archive For April 29, 2013

The 5 Laws of Social Project Management

Classic project management in many ways is no longer realistic in today’s world. The tough economy
has provided the perfect opportunity to encourage self-motivation and independence
amongst employees. A new approach to project management has emerged; social project
management. Social project management incorporates both social technology and software with the
basic elements of traditional project management. One important aspect of social project
management is having an online project management tool like LiquidPlanner, which brings together social
technology and an adaptable project management architecture.

The 5 Laws of Social Project Management

The 5 laws of social project management shown here illustrate
how and why social project management can be so effective when it allows the unique abilities of each team member to contribute in a collaborative environment towards a shared project goal. Learn social project management laws, like
why autonomy and transparency must be maximized in social project management, and how projects
can be managed to allow every team member to contribute fully and efficiently.

Published by LiquidPlanner

Breaking into Project Management

Careers advisors have been working with young people for decades to help them recognise their potential through various testing and quizzes which often list project management as a suggested route for those who demonstrate an organised approach to working. However it is one thing being listed as a suggested profession and another thing actually being able to attain a project management role. Most of the PM people I know happened to fall into the field – like myself, I was working on quality control for a large blue chip when I was asked to get involved with some continuous improvement projects. Having demonstrated my willingness and aptitude to managing these projects I was put on courses to learn a structured approach to delivery and quickly moved into a role where I was managing new product introduction projects across Europe. I haven’t looked back and having been fortunate enough to have a supportive senior management team I learnt a great deal very quickly.

Knock on effectI would always recommend those who want to get into PM take a look at their current circumstances, what can you do where you are to achieve your goals? If you are yet to secure a new role then I suggest targeting businesses with the scope to be able to offer more, later down the line. Make a point of securing a new position which is ideally office based and work hard, get noticed for the right reasons and don’t be disheartened if you don’t feel you are moving at a pace you feel you deserve. It is important to make sure you gain some trust by the senior management team, once they know you can do the task in hand (i.e. the job you were employed for) and can see your willingness to be involved in projects you should start being invited to get involved. In the first instance you are likely to be asked to support a project, this is a great basis to build up your portfolio of skills and gain a greater understanding of how projects are run. You will also get to work with other parties around the business and begin to be recognised in this field. The knock on effect is that you may then be requested from other areas in the business to join new projects. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be open to training, and be keen to join in.

This can work for those already established within a business, if you have been working in a job which isn’t challenging you, take time to speak with your manager and ask if there are any projects you can get involved with. Explain you are keen to be involved but be careful not to be too dismissive of your current role – think about the reasoning behind why you want work on projects, always take a positive approach.

Reasons why your project management job applications fail

I have been approached literally hundreds of times over the years by job hunters asking why they are not getting calls following on from job applications – each case is usually slightly different but on the whole it comes down to a few reasons listed below:

  • Incorrect matching for job – in the current climate, most employers are less flexible with what they will accept in regards to skill-set and experience. If they are asking for a professional with specific product knowledge or project management method of delivery then they tend to stick with this requirements list and interview those who already have a close match. Remember, you need to meet at least 90% of the role requirements to be in a position to be considered for the job.
  • Poorly written job adverts / job descriptions – this comes down to recruiters and HR staff either not understanding the role or using old job descriptions to create new ones which are often out of date and not relevant. Therefore when you see an advert which doesn’t give any real detail about the organisation / projects in hand you are taking a leap of faith with your application.
  • Generic CV – alongside the generic job descriptions, these rarely give enough detail about your experience and specialism. As employers want project professionals who are closely aligned to their requirements it can be difficult for them to gauge you and they will naturally pick out the CVs which spell it out.
  • Job is closed – yes, a lot of roles are already closed when they go to advert. Why do it then you ask. A good recruiter will already have some candidates in mind for a role as they are qualifying it; as such they will have made contact with the candidates and will have sent in a shortlist to their client before writing up and publishing an advert. This is because there is a lot of competition for these roles with recruiters and time is of the essence, the advert will go online after, which will generate interest and more CVs for next time. Also the recruiters know that the best way to generate further business is to be seen to be publishing lots of new roles – the busier the agency appears to be the more likely they are to get more leads.
  • Fake job adverts – there are still a number of job adverts placed out and about which are “fishing” adverts, usually generic in their form and not unlike the above scenario. But these tend to be nonexistent jobs purely used to help build a recruitment database.
  • Too slow – not all roles are filled when published online, especially the harder to fill positions, but with competition high from your peers, you must be quick. I have published roles which have generated hundreds of applications within the first few hours, I have interviewed and shortlisted before the day has ended.

Looking for work

It is not uncommon to believe your CV is saying all the right things and reads clearly to others but all too often the common trait is that you know your job inside out and assume others will understand this. The CV becomes a document so in tune with what you know rather than a clear communicator of your exposure to different elements, difficulties you have faced (this sets you apart from others), core competencies (as you assume the reviewer will know you covered all aspects) and the types of projects you worked on (believing that leaving out the technical element will make you a more transferable candidate). My advice is to first address your CV, ask for a review – make sure it is honest! Then when you are confident it is good, keep an eye out for roles which look genuine and apply swiftly.

Internet Recruitment Sites

Often the first port of call for most looking for a new job – internet recruitment sites can be effective but need to be tackled in the right way to ensure you are harvesting good results. It is easy to apply online for roles and using the job boards provides very easy access to hundreds of recruitment agency job adverts. However if you are merely applying for anything and everything which broadly covers your skill-set you could be off to a non-starter – look at it from the recruiters perspective, if you apply for roles which vary significantly in salary and seniority then you are wasting their time. You will get noticed but for all the wrong reasons, quickly being labelled as a “apply for all” candidate who does not A. Read the job advert or B. Does not understand their own skill-set

Take time to really understand which roles are relevant for you and make sure you don’t assume that the recruiter knows what it is like to work at xxx ltd. When I say this I mean I have seen CVs which are rather limited in information and often do not have enough of the skills covered which are required for a role, therefore the application is rejected and it is not uncommon to have a call from the candidate asking why they were rejected. When explaining the key areas for the role the candidate will say they have done this and my response was – it is not in your CV. No matter how good a recruiter is at their job if the CV is not including the key skills asked for in their client wish list then the CV will be rejected from the client and it is important for the recruiter to maintain a good relationship with their client.  Sending in CVs lacking vital information looks bad on them so they won’t do it.

Your CV also needs to be compatible for the recruiter databases – often there are some guidance notes on the recruiter sites as to what works best with their systems, make sure you follow these but a good rule of thumb is to keep the CV to a basic formatting and avoiding tables and text boxes. Otherwise you may find that your CV is not displaying correctly on the recruiters screen and could be missing large chunks of information. As the recruiter will be dealing with hundreds of CVs on a daily basis you will easily be discarded for a CV which is correctly formatted and states all the key requirements for a role.

Keyword searching by recruiters is also very popular these days due to the volumes of candidates in databases so it is important to make sure you weave relevant keywords within your CV – do not just list a mass of keywords! This is not helpful to the recruiter who requires some context of how you have used skills, software etc. Take a look at roles being advertised and check that the terminology is similar to that used in your CV, make sure you really work at placing some effective statements about when you have had exposure to certain aspects such as the project lifecycle including how, when, why.