Come Dine With Me for Project Managers – Friday snippet

Come Dine With Me for Project Managers – Friday snippet

Here’s a novel idea – has anyone ever come up with a fun way of exploring others projects through a “Come Dine With Me” style – try and score? Imagine hooking up with 3 or 4 other project professionals in a similar capacity and spending an afternoon at their office gaining a flavour of what goes on in that organisation. This could work really well for PMOs as well as Project or Programme Managers. Throughout the week you get to have a nosey around the projects of other professionals and grade them on their management style, integration in the business, smooth (or not) running, communications etc. At the end of the week all the contestants get to sit down and share with each other their thoughts on what they liked and didn’t like about each organisation and hopefully take away some sound advice and new practices to use in their own working environment. Of course there’s no need for camera crews and let’s face it, most organisations wouldn’t allow camera crews inside their buildings when they could be potentially embarrassed or projects are sensitive. But as a professional gain-share practice – I really think it could work!

Now who is going to approach their boss about a trial?

APMG-International Showcase UK

Today I will be attending the APMG-International Showcase UK formally Best Practice Showcase in London – this is, in my experience, one of the more professionally run and useful exhibitions to attend for the PPM domain. The line up this year is a little smaller in comparison to previous years’ events however good things come in small packages. The line up planned promises to be very informative and the birds of a feather sessions tend to prove to be beneficial for those wanting a more intimate session where your questions will be heard.

This event in years past has always proven very popular with the senior project management professionals and makes for a great networking opportunity whether you are seeking a new role or simply seeking others who may be able to share their knowledge on delivering success.

It is good practice as a PPM professional to attend such events to assist you will be keeping abreast of current methods, new training workshops, PPM tools, etc. Networking is not something which everyone is naturally born with however practice makes perfect so do not be intimidated and use this as a great way to start – project management is all about networking and growing your networks is essential in the modern world.

I hope to see some of you today – please feel free to come and find me and enjoy your day!

For details of the event, please visit the APMG website here.

Interview questions you should be asking for a Project Management job

OK so we’ve worked hard to secure a job interview – most of us actually feel that we can clinch the job if we can just meet with the hiring manager and talk through how good we are. Up until this point the emphasis has been on you, your CV, your application, your flexibility to meet on a set day…. Now you get to meet the hiring manager and it’s all about you performing… Yes and no, yes – you do need to articulate yourself and respond to questions confidently whilst allowing your lovely personality to shine through. But this is also where the tables turn, it is the time when you meet your potential boss in your potential office building and make a decision as to whether you can work with these people or whether it is just not for you. Often we forget that the interview is a two way process, placing all emphasis on ourselves alongside a great deal of pressure. Take a deep breath – it’s a meeting, you are testing them as much as they are testing you.

Be prepared – practice scenarios to talk through which are relevant to the role and do your research on the business. 9 times out of 10 you will be asked if you know who they are and what they do. Now here’s the bit that people forget – your questions to the employer.

You will almost certainly be offered the opportunity to ask questions as the interview draws to a close, here are some things to consider:

  • Are there any issues the team are currently facing which you would like me to address?
  • How well is change received in the organisation and what is your policy on implementing it?
  • In the bigger picture, how does this role fit organisationally within the business structure?
  • What in your opinion are the most enjoyable aspects of the role?


And finally…


  • Is there anything else you would like to ask me – anything I haven’t covered or have been unclear on?

Avoid questions such around areas such as money, holidays and sick leave – this will be clarified should you be offered the role and you should have a fair idea having researched before the interview. Do not be afraid to take a neatly written (ideally typed) list of questions to the interview in a folder and ask permission to refer to them when prompted to ask questions. By not asking questions, you are not demonstrating a keen interest in the role. Keep the balance right, do not bombard the interviewer with lots of questions keep them to a concise list which is structured to ensure you are told everything you need to know about the role.

Another tip: when you are researching, find something out about the business which is in the public domain such as new product / initiative / partnering etc and mention this in one of your questions. For example; “I was interested to read that you are currently integrating a new web system within the organisation – will it have any direct effect on this department?” A sneaky way to demonstrate that you have indeed been doing your homework and are very interested in the business. I once had a client call me after interviewing one of my candidates laughing because my candidate knew more about a new initiative within the business than he did. He promised to find out the response to her question for next time they met. She got the job!


Should I state my hobbies on my CV? – Questions answered.

Each week I am addressing questions asked during my consultations with project professionals, via the blog – this week we have an interesting question from a PMO professional who was concerned that stating hobbies may go against him.

“I have been considering whether to add detail about my hobbies in my CV as I do not want to put employers off – some of my hobbies are extreme sports and I have read that such hobbies may be off-putting due to the perceived danger aspect and employers worry about time off due to accidents.” – Simon, PMO Lead; Southampton.

Hi Simon, many thanks for the question – hobbies are an interesting aspect of a CV in that there have always been questions around whether they are actually required. However I have worked with a number of employers who have asked to see CVs of candidates with interesting hobbies – this is because their current teams are varied in backgrounds and interests which they have found works very well for the business. Having hobbies is important to everyone as this demonstrates that our down time is being used productively but also that we have a way of channelling our energy and stresses of everyday by escapism.

Some choose to take a safer approach to hobbies and may develop websites etc where as others as more active and choose to climb rocks at the weekend. Personally I think there are a smaller number of employers which will have an issue with a dangerous sport over no hobbies at all. We can suffer accidents merely walking to the shops so in controlled environments you are less likely to have a detrimental outcome as you are aware.

Hobbies add another dimension to a CV – when choosing potential employees it is important for hiring managers to get a good fit to the team and as such they may look to attract similar to their current team or think outside the box and consider candidates with a more varied background. To make a team we do need to consider varying elements so having colleagues who are very different from each other can address any skills gaps too.

Work does take a large proportion of our time and although it is necessary to ensure you are covering all aspects of the role you perform – adding that personal element is a good idea. We are not robots and it is better to be discarded for a role from the outset if the employer truly has an issue with your hobbies than after interviewing. Save yourself the disappointment and time – be true to yourself as the right role is only around the corner and the hobbies may be the deal breaker or deal maker!

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