Every Project Manager Has a Story

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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While recently attending a NASA event, I spoke with a Mission Control Manager, who remembered me from a project management panel I was on earlier this year. I was pleasantly surprised. I almost didn't participate on the panel because I didn't think I had much to share.

Those new to project management may feel they don't have the "expertise" to speak or write on a topic. This could not be further from the truth. 

Your experiences about your career path or even individual projects you've managed or worked on contain valuable information that even just one other person in the profession could learn from. A five-minute talk or a five-paragraph blog is really all you need to start connecting your story to others. It's this connection, done over and over again, that will increase your influence, your reach and professional network.

"Storytelling" is more than reading fairy tales to a child. It comes in the form of speeches, presentations, panels and writings. At project management events (in person or virtual), you can reach dozens or hundreds of people with your unique experiences in the profession. Additionally, the experience of applying for a panel, or writing a paper or article, will help you realize how much you do know, and where there's knowledge gaps. 
So I say, challenge yourself: Volunteer to present and share a project management story in a familiar setting, such as at a PMI chapter meeting or speaking panels. If you're ready to present in front of an audience of people you don't know, search for opportunities to present at events such as a PMI® Global Congress. These types of events expose you to project managers from all walks of life, new comers and veterans alike. With such a large audience present, sharing your stories will inevitably reach other project managers who can learn from your experiences.  
Take some time to write a short entry on the project management topic you're most knowledgeable about -- then find an outlet to share that material. From a PMI community of practice to a PMI chapter discussion board to your own Facebook page, there are many virtual spaces on which to share your project management stories. 
Start small -- even if it's just 140 characters on Twitter. Then build your momentum, and soon you'll find your project management stories have reached places you never thought they could.    

Fellow blogger Jim De Piante recently covered this topic. Check out what he has to say.

Posted by Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina on: December 21, 2011 10:31 AM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Jeff Lee
Thank you very much for writing this encouraging blog. Even though I have been involved with program/project management for over a decade, it wasn't until recently that I obtained my Bachelor's in PM.

In many ways, I felt as if I was the new kid on the block when in fact I am not. Although I had felt I had something to contribute from my past experiences, I had not taken the time to do so, as I felt no one would listen to me based on prior experiences. Your blog has given me the motivation I needed to start a blog, which has been recommended by many friends and colleagues.

I have also been thinking about joining Toastmasters to keep my skills up to speed with regards to presenting in front of an audience. My current situation does not allow me to do this and I can feel the rust setting in. LOL.

Thank you again for this awesome blog! I have always felt as PM's we are a giant team and hence need to take time to support each other.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Saket Bansal
Good post. I agree most of us has a unique story and some unique learning to share, and in today's connected word we have many ways for sharing it. One can start small, one can start by commenting his views on blogs, sharing thoughts on twitter and project management online groups.

For speaking, one needs to acquire public speaking skills. That can also be started small by giving talks on project management within the organization or giving training on PM concepts, etc.

The point to note is we must share to grow.

PM Hut
All of the NASA project managers that I have known through PM Hut have stories. They practically invented project management and they keep re-inventing it every few years.

Not to mention that NASA projects are probably the most complicated projects in the world, and require a very high level of PM/risk management experience.

Thank you PM Hut, Saket and Jeff for leaving comments!

I definitely heard some wonderful stories from the NASA folks I know. They have a lot to share! But what I'd like to impress upon newbie project managers, is that you don't have to be a NASA veteran in order to share a story. You don't have to wait that long :) As Saket commented, "...we must share to grow."

Jeff! Congrats on your blog! I am thrilled to hear that I have motivated you to share your PM stories! Sharing a story, and not giving a lecture or PowerPoint presentation, I feel is the best way to connect to other people. I'd love to read what you're sharing; if you'd to share with me, you can find me on Twitter @PML33T or on LinkedIn under my full name.

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