Tag Archives: Project Management lessons learned

Your CV resembles a Jenga game

I really enjoyed reading Peter Taylor’s (The Lazy Project Manager) blog about our services and particularly like his reference to CVs being like a game of Jenga towards the end of the game. This is a fantastic analogy and is so true of CVs being sent to me for review.

For those unaware of the game, basically it starts off as a tower of wooden bricks each layer placed across the next in opposite directions – the aim of the game is to take bricks out from the lower layers and add to the top of the pile without knocking the tower over. So as the game progresses the tower becomes unstable on the lower levels as gaps appear, the higher levels become top heavy with bricks which leads to eventual demise of the tower.


How very perceptive of Peter to describe a CV like this – as we work through assignments and change jobs we often add in detail to the CV but begin to lose consistency, we leave gaps further down the page, add in more and more detail working towards the top leaving the CV unbalanced and often lacking relevant information.

It is always good practice to revisit your CV on occasion regardless of whether you are thinking of making a career move or not – as it only became too apparent for a recent client of mine who had treated his CV like a game of Jenga then found himself made redundant. When I reviewed his CV it looked disjointed and in need of a great deal of work, he had made attempts to rework it but in doing so had managed to make it look very disjointed. When we talked through his feedback I teased out a number of interesting areas of work which he had failed to address in the CV and it quickly became apparent that he needed a sounding board to talk through his experiences enabling him to really draw out the kind of content which would see his CV placed on the top of the pile with recruiters.

As he had left it so long before working on the CV, he had forgotten a great deal of information and regretted not keeping on top of it. Also he now had an immediate requirement to get his CV out to recruiters and apply for roles as he was out of work – adding significant pressure to his already stressful circumstances.

After offering up key advice to him, he decided to have a go at rewriting his CV himself due to financial constraints, however after attempting to do this over the weekend he came back to me on the Monday asking if I could provide the CV writing service proposed.

Although it was not an ideal situation for him financially he had concluded that an investment in his CV would yield a much greater response from employers than he was currently receiving. So we worked together to really get to the crux of his core skill base and draw out achievements which demonstrate his ability to go above and beyond the call of duty – really emphasising his value to organisations.

The lesson to be learned here is that you should always have an up to date CV – don’t leave it until you are pushed to have to do something!

photo credit: Herman Rhoids via photopin cc

Bonfires and Fireworks

Happy Guy Fawkes to you all – not breaking with tradition I would like to tie in today’s blog to the theme of bonfire night.

Remember remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder, treason

Should ever be forgot…

A poem brought about after Guy Fawkes was put on trial in 1606 for treason having been caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder and subsequently found guilty, which saw him hung, drawn and quartered. The poem was served as a reminder to the next generations regarding treason and the tradition has evolved with time, to include rather fantastic firework displays etc.

A powerful and emotive story which despite its age has certainly played a huge part in our lives over the years – if only we could be as effective in the workplace for lessons learned. Time and time again I have worked with project managers to programme directors who tell me stories of woe from managing pieces of work which would have greatly benefitted from the lessons learned log. This document has been either ignored / not completed or hidden away like it is a bad thing because it highlights where we went wrong. Of course it also highlights the good too but attitude seems to be that if we pretend the bad bits weren’t there now we’ve completed a project then it didn’t happen – then low and behold, history repeats itself.

Now I am not suggesting we have a bonfire and burn all the confidential waste every time we learn something but surely we are at a point where it makes sense to drag out and dust down the lessons learned log for projects similar in complexity etc. each time a new project is being scoped and particularly when it is being planned.

Here’s a poem which you could adapt for your project team:

Remember remember the project of last September

Stakeholders lost all respect,

I see no reason why lessons learned should be tossed

Or ever not be kept…

Blatantly I was never meant to be a poet but you get the idea – maybe adopting something in the office which reminds all to revisit times passed to better understand how to do things more efficiently moving forward could save a lot of time, money and energy.