Project Management is all about variety and achievement – however it isn’t as simple as getting from A to B, anyone who has managed a project which has run smoothly will appreciate the hassle free approach but in reality this is a rarity. It is the challenges and blockers which really make for an interesting project and can really add value to your CV. These challenges can range from cultural issues, resistance to change and suppliers going under. Not to mention disparate teams and no buy-in from the senior management team – every PM professional I have spoken to has a portfolio of stories to share but it is rare to see any evidence of this on their CVs. Employers are usually aware of the major issues faced within the organisation when looking to bring in fresh talent and sharing these war stories can really add a new dimension to your application and set you apart from your peers. It isn’t about whinging, trust me, a lot of PM professionals feel sharing such detail would come across like this however written in a positive light on how you overcome significant challenges you are addressing some core areas such as management style, problem solving and organisation. Although the other perception is that it is all part of the job, to a point yes it is but it takes real skill to turn around a failing or troubled piece of work and as such why are you not singing your own praises? Focussing on particular aspects of PM such as the people element or process are key skills sought after by employers. Quantifying your skill set with some key achievements is a great way to showcase yourself in your CV and let’s face it; the job market is flooded so it is imperative you are marketing yourself in the document. Choosing a few achievements with some variety and also targeting specific examples for the roles you are applying for will certainly highlight you for the right reasons with employers and the all important gate keepers (recruiters/HR).
When noting your achievements you should look to set the scene with enough detail to be clear on the challenge then talk through what you did to rectify the issues, followed by the result / benefits. Keep to a short statement (the CV needs to be concise) and don’t be tempted to share more information than is necessary – it always gives the impression you struggle to get to the point with long winded statements; this is not a good impression to make as hiring managers will assume an hour long interview is likely to go on for 3 hours and project meetings will unnecessarily overrun. Remember it is not just the content that is being assessed, are you being clear, concise and demonstrating an understanding of what it is you do.
Event Management is a complex field and is often overlooked by the traditional sense of Project Management due to its relaxed approach to structured delivery. However this is a misconception, as with all project managers – we all approach things differently! Events can be fairly straightforward pieces of work for training weekends and new product launches etc but the rise of large scale events such as festivals and industry conferences demanding a structured approach to presenting a business case, planning, resource management, risk & issue management, change control, reporting and stakeholder management. The role that was once deemed a “write requirements on the back of a cigarette packet” has had to change its ways, especially as even large scale festivals have had to cancel due to lack of interest – wasting time and resources. A failure in the research element could be put to blame here as the market has been flooded by such events – a huge revenue earner but only deeming real success when big names in music are headlining, and with so many to choose from naturally the greater band lists attract the majority.
Such pressures mean that events which are running need to go without a hitch – bad press for chaotic amenities and cancelled acts can damage future ticket sales.
Here’s a word cloud taking in some of the considerations for Event Management, now that is a project plan I wouldn’t want to manage – certainly testing the length of any Excel spreadsheet and the patience of an Event PM.
The Event Project Manager, not such an underdog after all – expert Planner, Benefits Manager, and Stakeholder Specialist a great big must!
I was fortunate enough to be invited along to a community project celebrating the opening of the Olympics on Friday 27th July at Carsington Water in Derbyshire by one of their project managers Emma Beswick; Emma alongside her colleague Katy Stubbs organised the event aimed at reaching out to the local community with taster sessions in a variety of sports. Over 600 people registered but it is thought that over 1000 people attended the event and were treated to all sorts of sporting activities which were open to young and old to join in; such as archery, fun run, golf, football and cycling to name a few being provided by local businesses.
On discussing the project with Emma Beswick, Sports Development Officer for the High Peak – she explained that planning the event was fairly complex and the real challenge was to ensure numbers attending on the day were at a high level and health and safety was adhered to stringently. The Village Games team have sports officers in each borough who are responsible for bringing sport to the forefront in their geographical locations (60 villages) – aimed at getting locals involved in fitness based activities. Funded by a number of organisations the initiative runs until 2013 – due to its continued success the team are hoping to secure future funding to keep running beyond 2013.
On arriving at the make shift arena I was pleasantly surprised by the professionalism of the organisers and event; with each taster area clearly marked out and queues of enthusiastic contenders awaiting their turn. The event really did cater for all tastes and included face painting and arts and craft areas to add further fun to the occasion. There were bouncy castles and sumo suits for the children to go into competition in the ring which was great fun both for those competing and those watching. Medals were awarded for many events and it was quite clear that the majority of those in attendance had set aside the day to sit in the sun and join in the activities.
Community projects such as these are a fantastic initiative and really bring home the need for future events and further funding – encouraging families to spend quality time together and encouraging sports; making sports fun and accessible to all. Clearly the project managers for such events have a good knowledge in sports but also a strong awareness of structured project delivery – realising benefits from the outset and complex planning being key to their success. 7
For further information on Village games you can visit their website here and feel free to contact Emma Beswick on 07909 443 043 firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on executing such projects. You can also follow Emma and her community project work on twitter: @villagegames_hp