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Project Interdependency – CV tips

As  part of the CV Tips series I wanted to address project interdependency, it is an important factor to cover in the CV if you have had exposure to it as there is a big difference in portfolios which have dependencies to ones which are not interlinked. In basic terms Project Interdependency is a term often used where two or more projects relate in particular ways – for example if one of the projects fails to deliver expected results/benefits then all other related projects will be affected somehow. This can be resource conflicts, cost (if there is an overspend and a bunch of projects share this then other projects can fall short of funds), a project may be dependent on another project starting or meeting certain deliverables by milestones. Because of these reasons project interdependency is seen as a major risk to the other affected/related projects – if one project fails, then the rest can all come to a halt or fail also.

Project Interdependency

Now we have cleared up what a project interdependency is, you can see why this is a great competency to add into the CV if you have been managing/supporting this – the role of a PM always involves a certain level of balancing various teams and groups, ensuring all is being completed and delivered to plan, but when it comes to project interdependency there is a high emphasis on bringing together all parties to ensure success. Although there is the administrative element, there is also the all important governance, relationship building, team leading, negotiating with suppliers and a spectrum of other skills all rolled into one.

I think you will agree the competency is worthy of a bullet point on the CV, again, good examples may warrant being placed in the key achievements and of course you should look to add into the description of the portfolio when talking through volume of projects, programmes, etc.

Ten ways to motivate your project team

Having worked in a diverse range of businesses from a large blue chip automotive organisation, mid size telematics company to an incredibly small recruitment business I have come across a number of management styles and found some really work and others which truly do need locking away. Most of my motivational work has come through managing globally dispersed teams which is a little harder to execute the below suggestions however I have been fortunate enough to be involved in some fantastic projects in the UK and these tips really do work.

1. Inclusion – this seems more than obvious but how often have you overlooked a team member as “this part isn’t relevant to them”? I agree that it is both wasteful and unproductive to invite members of the team to meetings which aren’t deemed relevant, however an invite should be extended none the less but more importantly ALL team members should be put on copy of the meetings outcome minutes.

2. Meetings with a twist – try to think of ways which will jazz up meetings, keeping them fresh and productive. Set your goals to be met at the start and try taking turns each meeting with different members of the team facilitating – ask each facilitator to use a different method of presentation, keeping the format fresh.

3. Offer up tasks for grabs – there is always a huge list of tasks requiring attention in projects; why not offer some out for other members of the team to take a fresh approach on. The more junior members of the team will appreciate the opportunity to gain insight into different areas and taking this collaborative approach works to pull teams together; ideally the team members picking up the tasks will be choosing them rather than being lumbered with them.

4. Socialise – we may not choose to spend our weekends with our work colleagues, but an evening set aside once a month to go for a bar snack and drink on a Thursday afternoon is a good idea to get the team together in a more relaxed environment. Don’t talk shop – just let people talk and get to know each other outside the pressures of the office. Don’t force the gatherings but ensure all are very welcome to come along.

5. Rewards – some may argue that the reward is your salary, this is the kind of attitude managers with no responsiveness to people management come up with. Rewards can be little things such as food treats and a “thank you” every now and then. But if you have a team working through lunch times over a week to ensure a project is brought to close on time – you could buy the team lunch – either something delivered in or when the project is delivered, take them all out for lunch.

6. Team building events – steer clear of fusty outsourced “motivation” workshops and think about what will really engage the team, an activity which involves some stellar team work such as orienteering for an afternoon.

Leading on to….

7. Team lead activities – ask the team to get involved with designing activities rather than imposing what you think is needed on them.

8. Action based learning – give the team a challenge where they request support but have to define what they need. This type of activity is very beneficial as it promotes reflection on your own actions and doing the activities rather than being instructed.

9. Charity work – give something back to the local community such as getting the team to build a playground, decorate a deserving persons house or clear a wasteland into a nature reserve. Not only will you draw the team together, you will be helping others and what a fantastic piece of PR for the business.

10. Value your team – quite possibly one of the biggest ways to generate team spirit is for management to value the team. Rather than talking about “how much this is costing” but focussing on the benefits to be generated. Be patient, not all results are yielded immediately so accept that real change takes time.

What your Project Management CV profile should say about you

The first part of your CV a hiring manager reads is (or should be) your profile – this ought to be a short statement no longer than about 80 words. The profile should be a clearly written summary of you and your skills. I have seen statements which take up half a page – too long! And ones which are a short sentence – too short. But putting the length aside, it is content which is important.

The best way to construct your profile is to think about your key skills and where your strengths lay – do not fall into the trap of creating a profile which is all about you being enthusiastic, hard working, etc as these are essential requirements for any role and as such they are expected. Instead concentrate on specific skills. For example if you are hot at financial reporting, stakeholder management, resource management etc then these are the areas you should be focussing on.

Here’s an example of a profile which doesn’t add value:

A driven and enthusiastic individual with an ability to work in a team or own initiative, good with customers and always has a positive outlook.

It is short and really doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything about your technical abilities. These are the types of attributes which will be teased out at interview – although it is unlikely you will reach interview unless the rest of the CV makes up for the lack of professional description.

Here is an example of a strong profile:

An experienced Programme Manager with accreditations to back up the practice (APMP & MSP). Overall programme responsibility for corporate wide initiatives; leading a team of 10 project managers and hands on experience of managing multiple concurrent strategic projects increasing a business’ ability to achieve its goals.  Good exposure to interfacing with all levels of management and cross functionally within the organisation.   

 

The profile tells us a great deal about the candidate such as his/her seniority, team management and that he manages projects as well as leads teams of PMs. Reading a profile like this for a programme manager role will make the hiring manager want to read on to really understand more about the programmes of work and his/her style of delivery.

Your profile should be clear and concise – stating “deliver on time and to budget” doesn’t really add value as it is expected that you can do this; that is what you are paid to do and the reality is that about 70% of projects are deemed failures due to not reaching deadlines or budgets and would it not be a great opportunity to talk about how you delivered and issues you faced in the bulk of the CV to give the reader a real understanding of how you work? Plus, I know a lot of hiring managers who would be wary of a PM who has never had any major issues managing a project – the concern being how you would deal with one if it arose.

Try to use the profile as a short snippet of what you can do – if you were at a networking event and only had a minute (or less) to describe yourself to a hiring manager to make a good impression and want him/her to take notice what would you say?

At The CV Righter we work with you to understand what you do and how you do it – from conducting a detailed discussion we can create a profile which will make the hiring manager sit up and want to read your CV, not discard it within a few seconds. www.thecvrighter.co.uk

 

Project Management Job applications – making it happen

Applying for a job can be both exciting and daunting – if you have not been in the market for a new job for a while; you are likely to be unaware of the changes in how recruitment works. For a start you are meeting heavy competition; no longer can you expect to receive a response from employers about your application. Although some employers do endeavour to respond, HR teams have been streamlined and are inundated with applications making it increasingly hard for them to respond to everyone. The competition may not be as daunting as you think though as a large proportion of applications are unsuitable for the roles, however there will always be a few which meet the selection criteria for HR staff. By writing a strong cover letter (note earlier blog) and ensuring your CV is up to date with relevant information to the role and business you are applying to you can ensure you are ticking the boxes and should be placed in the interview shortlist.

Do not assume that applying for a role less senior to your current status is going to put you ahead of the selection process. I have seen a number of instances where a project manager has applied for a project coordinator role and this has brought into question why the individual wants to take a step backwards. In some cases it has been clear that the line manager felt intimidated by the seniority of an applicant as they had more experience than them. If there is a particular reason you are applying for something deemed more junior to you, explain. But in reality, a lot of candidates applying for roles which are more junior do it because they cannot get a role in the current market at their own level. Not a good reason to apply, employers fear that as the market picks up the candidate will move on.

Try to get the balance right – apply for roles which are at a level with your skills and experience or slightly above, demonstrating your appetite for career progression. Carefully pick roles which are well suited to your abilities and ensure you place the job description next to your CV – then tick off the competencies listed on the JD against your CV. If they are asking for something which you haven’t covered in your CV but have done – add a bullet point addressing it. Take out bullets which are not asked for which will allow room for the additions.

Take time applying for roles – do not just send your CV in the excitement of seeing something you would love to do, if you are really that excited then it is clear you need to make the application right.

The CV Righter offers careers guidance as part of the professional CV writing service – for a free CV review and the opportunity to discuss your applications, get in touch today: www.thecvrighter.co.uk