Project Management

How To Run a Project as a Volunteer PM

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.

Being a volunteer project manager is a wonderful way for experienced PMs to have a fulfilling experience and make use of their skills. It’s also perfect for entry-level project managers to build their resume—and a great way for retired PMs to contribute their expertise to organizations that may not have the financial wherewithal to employ project managers.

As a project manager, there are typically two ways to contribute expertise to an organization:

  1. The first is to manage one or more projects for the organization. The value delivered is that the organization has a completed project(s) as a result.
  2. The second way is to teach people within the organization how to manage projects.

For most small to midsized organizations, those most likely to warm up to the project management process are usually those who like organization and structure—while at the same time are able to think abstractly and creatively.

The goal of following the second approach is to educate one to three people in the organization the basics needed to successfully:

  • Work with management to identify viable projects.
  • Identify, enlist and guide those in the organization that can perform the project work (project team).
  • Organize the work effort needed to deliver the project.
  • Maintain the team’s focus and momentum to ensure the work gets done as planned.
  • Prepare …

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