Project Management

3 Guiding Principles From Women in Project Management: Past, Present and Future

Mass Bay Chapter

Johanna Rothman, known as the "Pragmatic Manager," offers frank advice for your challenging problems. She consults with leaders and teams to help them learn about practical and possible options. They can then decide how to adapt their product development. Her most recent book is "Project Lifecycles: How to Reduce Risks, Release Successful Products, and Increase Agility." See for all her books.

To celebrate Women's History Month and International Women's Day, we asked some of our contributors to reflect on their experiences being a woman in the project management workforce.

Did anyone inspire you to manage projects? Or, if you’re like me, did you fall into it because your colleagues weren’t organized enough so you could all finish work?

I never set out to manage projects. Instead, I had some organization skills that I used and enhanced. Upon reflection, I realized I learned many of these skills from other women.

The first skill was when I realized the whole project is late if one person is late. I learned that from watching my mother organize newsletters as a volunteer. If any correspondents were late, the newsletter would also be late.

They succeeded or failed together.

We All Succeed or Fail Together
I managed my first project in 1978. My boss taught me how to draw PERT charts on a blackboard. (PERT charts use nodes to form a diagram, to show parallel and sequenced work. We put expected durations on each edge.) Since blackboards didn’t have a lot of room, I only charted the next week or two worth of work.

The more interdependencies we had with the software, hardware and mechanical parts of the project, the less I charted. We had to discuss the issues before I could create that PERT.

Once we got about into the third …

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