I Resolve to Be a Better Project Manager...Now What?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

The beginning of the year is the time of making resolutions. This is usually followed quite quickly by the breaking of those resolutions. Whether to exercise more, drink less, eat more healthily or give up any number of perceptually bad habits, now is the time of year where we pretend that we can will ourselves into doing something differently than we have so far.

So what if our resolution was to become a better project manager? What then? There is a whole range of changes that this might contemplate. At the same time, there are any number of potential roadblocks that might derail us at the first turn. Doing something different requires defining both what “different” will look like, and determining our strategy for realizing that new way of operating.

In last month’s column, I talked about the process of figuring out what we don’t already know, and committing ourselves to a path of learning. The other side of that challenge is that once we have acknowledged that we need to change something about ourselves, we need to know how to address it. We still need to be able to define what our new destination looks like, and the steps necessary to get there. Recognizing we have gaps to address is the important first part, but it is only the first part. After that, we need to do something about it.

Resolving to become a better project manager, then, …

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"There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out."

- Russian proverb