Project Management

You’re Never Too Old

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I recently wrote an article on the trend for people to become project managers younger and earlier in their careers. It’s generating some good responses and prompted one individual to reach out to me explaining that they were in the exact opposite situation: They were in their 50s and had been working in the same industry for over 30 years, but they had only become a project manager for the first time a few months ago.

This new project manager explained that they were having some challenges around people assuming they were more experienced in the role, as well as finding that some assumptions they had from working around PMs for many years were wrong. They were looking for some guidance.

Assumptions are dangerous
We all know that assumptions can be dangerous to the success of a project, but we don’t always recognize when we are making them. If you see someone at work who is obviously more advanced in their career, you will naturally assume that they are performing work that they are very familiar with, have some skills in, etc. You won’t assume that the individual has taken on a completely new element in their career after 30 years of doing other things.

That’s understandable, and project managers should anticipate those assumptions being made. In this case, the first thing that the new project manager should do is to let everyone that they are…

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"One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

- Bertrand Russell