Project Management

Are You There in the Ways That Matter?

From the Voices on Project Management Blog
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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

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Hello, project manager? You are needed in the meeting room; you are needed for an online chat; you are needed on the phone.

Typical, right? You may feel overwhelmed if you’re expected to be in all places at once. It can help to realize there are only three realms in which you’re truly needed: physical, mental and electronic. Here’s how to address each.

Physical: If possible, try to be physically present for your team. Walk around and talk to stakeholders, team members and others to gather details about your projects.

This provides you with the current status and tidbits that will allow you to be proactive on your projects. It also lets you build rapport with team members.

Mental: You don’t have to be an expert in a programming language or even in the company’s industry. It bodes well, though, when you have some idea of the jargon for conversations with your stakeholders. You’ll want to be aware of the environment—all the external and internal factors and their impact on your projects.

You’ll also need to stay abreast of the benefits your projects bring to the organization. Project managers have to stay mentally focused on their project’s objectives and bottom line.

Try thinking about lessons learned from previous projects to help you gain understanding of how to address potential problems. Investigate tools that allow you to present project results to all levels of management and team members, too.

A detailed report on planned versus actual data is a source that can be shared in various audience-specific formats. You may be called on at any moment for project results and can rely on these tools to support your efforts to be mentally there.

Electronic: Social media and mobile technology allow people to be reached easily. Apps let you track and stay in touch with others. You will want to take advantage of these programs to gain information and respond to concerns about your projects. In many cases, they allow us to address and resolve concerns more quickly.

No matter how you do it, being a project manager means you have to be accessible. We have to manage our projects, not let them manage us.

Posted by Bernadine Douglas on: October 01, 2015 08:23 PM | Permalink

Comments (10)

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Great post! I recently read a wonderful book about this topic: Executive Presence (

I like it, especially the concept of mentally being there. How often have we been in meetings where everyone is typing on their ipads and laptops. They are there physically, but not so much mentally. I think a mark of leadership is the ability to truly engage with the situation you are in. If you are in a conversation, it makes a big difference if you lean forward a bit and truly focus on what the other person is saying: Be There!

If you're new to the industry, or not a subject matter expert, it can be a challenge to contribute in a meaningful way outside of just the PM role - this post illustrates great examples!

I like the electronic concept... What my experience says, PM should be there electronically nowadays (as its easy).. Physical presence can be overwhelming...

Hi Mario, thank you for your comments, and I will look for the book.--Bernadine

Hi Bruce, your mention of using such things as our laptops in meetings is such the reality now and can take us off focus so quickly. Thank you for that add in.--Bernadine

Hi Julia, I appreciate your comments. Thanks.--Bernadine

Hi Waseem, I appreciate, and of course, agree with your comments about electronics. Thanks for sharing. Feel free to share any of the situations where physical visibility can be overwhelming. Those joining this conversation may have some solutions or can offer a "ditto" that could also be helpful. Thanks again.--Bernadine

many thanks, I completely agreed whit your analysis. the first question is to understand how we must ask in each circumstance. in other words there is never a priori a manner to place themselves better than the other, but there is only the most just to be applied at the given event

great post!! share!

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