Project management is not just about focusing on the tasks at hand, but also the adoption and impact, says Lorelie Kaid, VP of enterprise project management for Washington State Employees Credit Union. People will remember your integrity, she adds, so don’t lose it.
Lorelie, how did you get into project management? I have never had the official title "Project Manager" Yet, project management is something I have always done, just not formally. My love and passion around it came early in my career when I was implementing a mainframe-based application that would essentially eliminate an entire department. Users could enter their forms directly into the system and no longer send them to a department to enter. The planning was challenging because I needed help from the very people who would lose their jobs. This experience was the beginning of learning the people side of project management and the importance of not just focusing on the task at hand, but the adoption and impact.
What do you love most about the work? Making a difference. For my day job, I am leading people who are making a difference in my organization. We are transitioning our IT efforts to Agile and some of my project managers have migrated to incredible scrum masters. We are focused on implementing key organizational initiatives that are making a difference in our member’s lives. On the side, I have taught project management for over 20 years. Some of my students are new to project management, and others are pros, but together we all learn from each other based on experiences.
What do you find most challenging or frustrating? There seems to be different perceptions about what project management is and isn’t. It is not an administrative role, but there are administrative requirements in the role—every role has these. It is not a role that “does everything.” When you say “accountant” in the business role, people generally know what you are referring to. When you say “project manager” there are many definitions on the spectrum, and it is important to help people get to the same [understanding] in your organization so that you can move forward.
What's your proudest professional achievement? Honestly, not to sound cheesy, but it is seeing the people I work with succeed. Twenty years ago, I had an intern who is now very successful. We are still connected and have lunch two to three times a year. I tell the people who work for me now that my role is to help them on their journeys, to help them move forward in their careers. The key is they have to do the work to make it happen. I am their biggest cheerleader.
What's the best piece of advice you've received or can share? Integrity matters. An early mentor told me this and he could not have been righter. Your integrity is something people will remember. Don’t lose it.
How has ProjectManagement.com helped you in your work and career? It has given me exposure to thoughts, ideas and people that I may not have encountered. I love this tool and the platform it provides.
What interests or hobbies do you have outside work? One of my passions is producing the musical at the local Tahoma High School every year. I have been doing this for seven years and love it. It is three weeks of crazy chaos, but I enjoy managing the young adults backstage—the actors, orchestra and crew. I am lucky to work for a company that supports my volunteer efforts as well. And volunteering, my project management skills have come in handy. Managing the young adults requires a lot of patience, openness and creativity.
What about a favorite TV show, artist or movie? Big-time Law & Order fan as well as NCIS. Long-time fan of Queen—well before the movie. I have all of the albums. Favorite movies are the Star Wars and Bourne series
Best vacation? Visiting my son and his wife in Philadelphia.
Thank you Lorelie!
To connect with Lorelie, visit her ProjectManagement.com profile.