As chief educator and principal consultant at The Ogaga Johnson Company, Ogaga Johnson, PMP, leads the design, development and facilitation of project management training courses and programs and drives change initiatives for business improvement and standardization. Originally from Nigeria, she now primarily works in Canada and the U.K. Here, Ogaga discusses her love of the profession — and her goal of helping others find their place in it.
Ogaga, how did you get into project management? After I finished my master’s sustainable energy engineering in 2013, I got into energy jobs, but found them boring because of how routine they were. I started searching for the right career and got introduced to project management in late 2014.
It was great to learn about a career where every day is different and where I can use my existing skills such as organization, planning, problem-solving, leadership and communication. I took a project management training course to better understand the technical project management knowledge. In May 2015, I transitioned into project management. I started off as a project coordinator, working on energy projects.
What do you love most about the work? I enjoy turning business ideas and strategy into reality by creating plans, structures and influencing people to get things done. It’s a great feeling seeing an idea or thought become real. I also enjoy how different each day is. It makes going into work something to look forward to. Finally, I love seeing our clients start and build successful and rewarding project management careers through our Transition to Project Management and Project Management Professional (PMP®) coaching programs.
What do you find most challenging? The most challenging thing about my work is seeing individuals who have so much potential think little about themselves or think they can’t start or build a career in project management because they lack experience. It makes me sad. Therefore, a vital part of my work is helping clients to have courage and transforming mindsets into one of a possibility mentality.
Does your approach change depending on the country or organization you’re working in? I have worked in various organizations across Nigeria, the United Kingdom and Canada. I have realized that it’s essential to understand the way things work and the value they expect the role to deliver, especially the politics of each organization. Once I know this, I adapt my skills and approach to deliver and contribute the value expected. I also ensure I bring a fresh perspective toward the way work is done.
What's your proudest professional achievement? Helping hundreds of professionals prepare, study and pass the PMP credential exam. Also, helping individuals, especially recent graduates and immigrants, to start and build rewarding careers in project management.
What's the best piece of advice you've received or can share? You don’t have to be confident before starting anything, you only need to be courageous. Courage births confidence: Every project professional must be courageous and being courageous starts with a mindset. As project professionals, we must be confident in the value we bring to an organization. It’s vital we don’t doubt ourselves nor our abilities. Yes, we can.
How has PM.com helped you in your work and career? The PM.com community provides me the learning resources and network that helps me share knowledge as well as learn and connect with other professionals. This has helped me build my existing skills and to learn new project management skills, grow my thought leadership in project management and stay abreast of project management trends.
What interests do you have outside work? I enjoy traveling, watching movies, volunteering at church, and speaking on project management and productivity topics.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us!
To connect with Ogaga Johnson, visit her ProjectManagement.com profile.
This interview was conducted by Kelley Hunsberger.