Providing Value As A Project Manager
Value is a word that is thrown around willy-nilly nowadays. Everyone is looking for value. Consumers want value in the goods and services they buy and producers tout the value they provide. Gold and diamonds have value, bundling a whole bunch of offerings together brings value, and it seems there are more and more creative solutions that companies are putting together in order to provide value.
The question is, however, do you understand the value of the Project Management solution you offer? You may have never looked at that way before, but you do offer a project management solution via the services you offer. We’ll explore that concept a bit further, but let’s first define the word ‘value’ a bit more.
Dictionary.com provides some ‘value’ when it comes to defining the word value…so let’s start there:
val-ue [val-yoo] noun – relative worth, merit, or importance: the value of a college education, the value of a queen in chess.
And, I would add another example to this definition: the value of project management in an organization.That is ultimately what you do by providing your project management services to the company you work for (either as an employee or a contractor) and the project management solution you offer. You need to view yourself as that project management solution, or at the very least a big part of it. That’s why it’s critical that you understand the value of the role that you provide.
The Danger of Value Decreasing Over Time
Value is a funny thing. Some things that may have been valuable a long time ago no longer hold their value. Think about a 28.8k modem. It really wasn’t that long ago when you could consider one of those devices as relatively valuable and pay good money to acquire one. They provided relative worth, merit, and importance as the Internet was just learning how to walk. However, if you saw a 28.8K or even 56.6k modem for sale now you would chuckle under your breath and wonder why it’s not in the trash somewhere.
On the other hand, there are other items that seem to never lose their value in the long term. For example, the gold and diamonds mentioned earlier. The scarcity and beauty of these items just continue to increase their worth and value over time. You could never imagine throwing away a perfectly good diamond because it had lost its value. Even if it lost partial value, you would make sure to protect this asset.
Which one are you as a Project Manager? Are you a 28.8K modem or a diamond? Understanding the value of the project management solution you offer will help answer that question and keep you from being discarded in the trash.
Why Some Project Managers May Not Be Valuable
Ready for some shocking news? Some Project Managers may not be valuable. That’s right; they may not bring with them the relative worth, merit, or importance to deem them as valuable. “How could that be possible?” you may ask in horror. Consider the following three areas when it comes to how some project managers may discount their value.
Do Nothing More than be a Scribe
The meeting is getting ready to start. There are a dozen people in the room. The projector is firing up. You can feel the anticipation and excitement as decisions are going to be made, issues resolved, and opportunity uncovered. The air is filled with electricity. Introductions are made and then someone asks “who’s going to take notes?”. Either you volunteer or worse yet, someone volunteers you to do this task. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big proponent of a Project Manager taking notes because it allows you to shape and mould the direction that project needs to go in after the meeting. But, if that is ALL you do and that is ALL people think you are good for, then that begins to rapidly marginalize your value as a Project Manager.
The value of the project management solution you offer needs to go way beyond just taking notes. You need to provide your input, make decisions, voice your opinion, and be just as engaged and passionate about the success of the project (if not more so), than anyone else in the room. Just taking notes won’t cut it. You may find yourself on the path to losing value as a Project Manager if that’s all you do.
Do Nothing More than Schedule Meetings…with Everyone
Meetings are the bane of everyone that works in a corporate environment. There’s a meeting for this and a meeting for that. There’s a meeting about the meeting that is coming up (you know there is) and then a meeting about the meeting that was just held. In between meetings, maybe people can schedule some productive time to work. Not sure, we’ll be certain to meet about that as well.Your job as a Project Manager if you want to bring value is not to schedule MORE meetings, but to schedule FEWER meetings. It’s your job to know what is important enough to meet about and more importantly, who needs to be at this meeting. Some will do a shotgun approach and invite anyone and everyone that has even remotely heard about the project. They will then sit there for an hour or two wondering why they are even there, provide no input, and daydream about being somewhere else.
Want to provide value with your project management solution? Find ways to get the right answers without having to hold a meeting. If you do have to hold a meeting, keep them as short as possible and only invite those that need to be there. This will take homework and research on your part and there is nothing wrong with that. That’s part of the value you bring. Make sure the right people are there and make sure those that don’t need to be there can spend time on something more productive.
Just be a Virtual Status Checker
It’s the end of the week and your getting ready for your weekly project update meeting. You start firing off your tirade of status emails to everyone on your team with interrogatory subject lines such as “What’s the status?” or “Where does this stand?”, or “How much longer?”, and a slew of similar questions. You ask for everyone’s status updates so much you would have thought you invented Facebook! My take is this…you shouldn’t have to ask anyone about their status. Why? Because you’re spending time with the team. You are on the front line with them. You know enough of the details of the project to be dangerous and allow you to do everything you can to move obstacles out of their way.
You should always be prepared and anticipate the question about “what’s the status” yourself. Again, free up your resources to do valuable and productive work, not answer email after email about the status of their work.
Not Valuable = Not Included
How do you know if people don’t see value in the project management solution you offer (also known as YOU)? You’ll start being left out! People will not freely volunteer information you need, you won’t be invited to ad hoc meetings where key decisions are being made, and you won’t know what happened until sometime after the fact. This is a painful place to be as a Project Manager that can be avoided by making sure you retain your value.
Ask yourself this question….Am I an outdated 28.8K modem or a priceless gemstone? The choice is up to you now that you understand the value of the project management solution you offer. Looking for a project management solution that is as good as you are? Try ProjectManager.com FREE for 30 days and watch your equity skyrocket as you track results, collaborate online, manage teams, and keep everyone on the same page with intelligent reporting!