Project Management

New PM Practitioners: The Journey Begins

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.


Congratulations! You’ve made it into the ranks of project management practitioners. This means you are about to embark upon a journey of leading initiatives that are intended to achieve an outcome or capability that the organization currently does not have. With that comes a great amount of stewardship, accountability and responsibility—not to mention stress, humility, fear, self-doubt, headaches and sleepless nights.

Did I say congratulations? Should I have said condolences? That will all depend on you and the effectiveness of your ability to plan and launch projects, lead project teams, manage tasks, communicate the status of projects, assess project viability and risks, and facilitate success (the emphasis being on the “facilitate success” part). Does this make you a little afraid? In the Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back when Luke exclaimed that he wasn’t afraid, Yoda replied, “You will be. You will be.”

Going forward, you are armed with tons of academic and technical knowledge about tools and processes. Maybe you have been lucky enough to work on projects in the role of project analyst or administrator. If so, projects are not new to you, but leading and managing them to successful conclusions is altogether different than participating in them. As a PM practitioner, you are actively in the business of using …

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