Leadership Lessons Learned from PMs

Steven is a project manager/contractor in the United Kingdom with experience in service support, service delivery, service management and project management.

I have been working on and managing projects for nearly 10 years now. In that time, I have read a lot of books, journals and research articles. I have also completed the PRINCE 2 and PMI PMP® certifications (which I am looking to renew this year). The most important studying I have done, however, has been of those around me. Learning from others is a vital tool in a prospective PM’s toolkit.

I was fortunate enough to be in an environment where there was an embarrassment of riches in terms of being around test managers and project managers. On the program I was working on, there must have been about 20 project managers from diverse backgrounds. The PM’s were from different internal teams within the same department(s), customers, third parties, etc.

This was the most important time of my career; all of these experienced team members in one extended virtual team…it was like a junior PM’s dream. I honestly couldn’t decide who to pick as a mentor, so I picked them all. So I had all this experience to draw from, but the question now was how I could use this pool of resources to my benefit.

It all become obvious a few days later when I settled into the role and realized that by just observing them and taking notes (and more notes, and then some more notes), the lessons would come naturally. I noted their actions and the outcomes—and …

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"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric."

- Bertrand Russell