Voices on Project Management

> Back to Voices Home

New to the Game? Go Back to the Basics

| | Comments (7) | TrackBacks (0)
I remember the first time I went to a supermarket in my new neighborhood. I felt a small sense of familiarity -- yet completely out of place. When I pushed forward to an aisle I assumed would have what I was looking for, I was shocked to find my product wasn't there. I was in a new world.
Many new project managers get the same feeling when they start on the job. You sit at your desk and wonder where to even begin. You've organized the office holiday party. You've planned the family vacation. Yet the scale of project management you're tasked with now is much more rigorous.

You've been here before in a sense, but not like this. Some of us had never been in leadership positions before the call to manage a project came along. Some of us have never managed other people or someone else's money. More than some of us have never formally run a project.
Project managers just starting out or with only a few years of experience may regularly feel out of place in this world of methodologies, frameworks and processes.

There are dozens of new terms to learn and discussion about which method is the best. The key is to not let the unfamiliarity overwhelm you. If you focus on what you know -- even in the face of all that you may not know -- you'll be on much surer footing as you move forward.

Go back to the basics: You know how to listen, observe and ask questions. You know how to speak to people. You know how to get information and keep that information handy and organized. You may not know what to plug into (BAC - EV) ÷ (BAC - AC) = TCPI or even what any of those letters mean. But until you find out, rely on what you do know.

Soon enough you'll be making your way around a project with ease and, in time, the unfamiliarity will start to fade. And you'll feel right at home in your new world.


Bookmark and Share


The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: New to the Game? Go Back to the Basics.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs.pmi.org/mt-tb.cgi/665

Leave a comment

All comments are reviewed by our moderators, and will not appear on this blog unless they have been approved. Comments that do not relate directly to the blog entry's contents, are commercial in nature, contain objectionable or inappropriate material, or otherwise violate our User Agreement or Privacy Policy, will not be approved. For general inquiries not related to this blog, please contact Customer Service. Please read the Comments -- Question and Answers.


Taralyn, thanks for the article. I will be transitioning for PMO role into project delivery space within a large organisation. Although I am excited about the new role, I am definitely conscious of the culture in the new team. I have been anxious about 'fitting in' as I will be the working with seasoned PMs.

I feel that your advise on paying attention to the basics is the best form of preparation for the new role. Thanks

Taralyn, what advice do you have to give to someone such as myself who has recently graduate with a MS in Project Management/Construction Management, and is looking for an opportunity for employment?

I am studying for my CAPM, but I need employment and or an opportunity, but most are looking for people with PMP's?

Can you help?

Thanks Taralyn for sharing. This is very valuable information:-)

@Ahmed - thanks for leaving a comment! In my opinion, regardless of what framework or methodology you end up choosing (or mixing up and making something new), starting with the PMBOK's set of defined processes will give you a great foundation for managing projects.

At the beginning, absorb all the info you can from all kinds of sources. With more practice you will find what works and doesn't work for you. You'll be able to pick and choose what processes work and which you can do without.

Like a sculptor with a lump of clay, you refine and refine until you get exactly what you're looking for. You just have to start somewhere, and the PMBOK is an excellent place to begin.

Two months from now, I'll transfer to a project manager position for power generation sector in my company.

As I much as I'm excited, I'm a little bit worried about the size and scale of these kind of projects, which is quite new to me. I'm wondering if I stuck to PMBOK processes would I be in safe heaven?

Hello Graeme! Thanks for being the first to leave a comment! I feel sometimes, as new project managers, we tend to get ahead of ourselves and forget that there are actually things we are good at. You can feel clueless easily as a new PM, but if you hold onto a few basic things, things you can always count on, you won't feel so out of control or lost.

Pick three things you're always going to be good at when it comes to project management. Three is a good number because it's easy to remember three things! When times get tough, when anxiety strikes, write down, sing, even dance to those three things you know for sure about yourself.

My three things are: Sense of humor, sincerity, ask questions when I don't understand.

Welcome to the PM world and good luck!

Thanks. I'm in exactly this position. The common sense is refreshing. Thanks again.

About This Blog

Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with — or even disagree with — leave a comment.

All posts represent the opinions of the bloggers.

Follow PMvoices on Twitter

About Bloggers

Keep checking back because the voices for this blog will continue to grow and change to represent a variety of regions, industries and opinions.

Read blogger profiles

Voices Poll