Project Management

Finding a Voice in the Company as a Junior PM

Kenya Chapter

Stephanie is the Principal Project Manager at Redtie Consultants in Nairobi.

The first time I was thrown into the role of a full-time project manager, I only knew that I knew nothing about formal project management. I was appointed and tasked to establish a project management office (PMO), which was supposed to solve all project management-related issues company wide.

Suddenly, I found myself as the perceived project management “expert” and had to hit the ground running. At the same time, I was the only woman in senior management in a slightly chauvinistic company set-up. Establishing my voice became a sensitive balancing act as I was learning on my feet.

Previously in my career as a nurse and a healthcare administrator, I had found myself in similar situations. As a junior staff member, we nurses knew we needed to change things—but I seemingly did not have the clout. However, for the sake of our patients, we did speak up. I drew on this experience when I suddenly found myself a project manager

Many young PMs find themselves in a similar situation. They are subject matter experts in project management, but they seem to have no real influence given where they sit in the company hierarchy. However, as a project manager you are a leader and you can have influence. You do not need a senior management title!

As long as you use diplomacy, document your facts and present them in the right way to relevant decision makers, you can …

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Solutions are not the answer.

- Richard M. Nixon