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Techniques to Overcome Industry knowledge
Hello, I have recently moved into the PM role in my company. We have 4 departments (Technology-my old department), Application Develeopment, Marketing for other business' including eCommerce and Web Design and NetSuite Implementation Partner.

I lack alot of Technical skill in Web Design and Applications dev but am now managing the projects. I know I dont need to be a SME of these to manage projects per se but the teams seem to think I should.

What are your thoughts of how to overcome that.
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In my opinion, leveraging the best user experience and the "value" add to customers would favor you more than the technical skill. (although technical skill helps piece it all together)
Having a deeper understanding of the customer/users pain points and articulating the problem you're trying to solve would be beneficial, then, developers/architects/solution designers etc. can figure out the technical solution.
John -

Would suggest a few options to explore in parallel:

1. Find someone who IS a SME in these and see if they are willing to have a few lunches or coffee meetings with you to fill in some of the gaps

2. Self-study during evenings and weekends using online resources or even a course - your company may be willing to subsidize that

3. Speak to other PMs who are managing similar projects, ideally in your company, but if not, in your local area. They would be able to help you understand the domain through a PM lens.

Good luck!

Kiron
...
1 reply by John Scott
Feb 26, 2020 8:15 AM
John Scott
...
Thank you Kiron, I will look towards my local chapter to see if there is anyone in my related areas. I am the Only PM here, a big reason I joined the community
John,

I espouse an approach called “Architectural Awareness,” which is an approach for navigating domains through architectural knowledge; that is, non-engineering big-picture knowledge that focuses on the strategy and structure of domains.

You don’t need to be an expert in these different domains, but you do need the ability to Understand, Interpret, and Communicate within them. Having this ability will allow you to:

- Collaborate: Comprehend, keep-up-with, and materially participate in domain-specific discussions using audience vernacular.
- Moderate: Moderate discussions through acumen (i.e., keen insight) level knowledge of the subject matter.
- Challenge: Challenge-out resolutions through principled level knowledge of the subject matter.

You can view the Collaborate, Moderate, and Challenge as competency levels of Architectural Awareness. With the first step being collaboration. So, to summarize, you want to have a 30k foot view of the domains of concern on your project, understanding how they structured and their purpose, along with their relationship with each other.

Focus your first efforts on understanding, interpreting, and communicating at a level that allows collaborative efforts. Once you have this level, you can then advance to Moderate and then Challenging. Always remember, that even after obtaining “Architectural Awareness,” that you are NOT the SME, although you may become recognized as such at some point in the process.

Food for thought.
...
1 reply by John Scott
Feb 26, 2020 9:46 AM
John Scott
...
Hello George,

Thank you for the insight. I appreciate it.
John, I think the problem lies in 'the teams seem to think I should'.

Ask yourself why this is, talk to the team individually, define your role (and theirs) and identify road-blockers of the team outside the technical area.

It is a matter of trust building, and not taking on a fight on authority in an area you will likely loose. Choose the battle field is a good strategy.

It is a typical movie plot that a leader shows his value in turbulent times but was previously rejected. Find these films and see how it works.
...
1 reply by John Scott
Feb 26, 2020 8:19 AM
John Scott
...
Thank you Thomas, you are correct in where to problem lies. I'll do my best to learn the process of these fields better so I understand how to "speak their Language"
Hi John, I had the same issue in a former role where I was coming from infrastructure project management to enterprise applications. The key is to rely on the internal experts, but also external ones consulting with your company (i.e. vendors). PM's don't need to know everything; they just need to identify people who do.
I will ask with basement on I am living from long time ago including it my actual work place. For each initiative before I start working I perform elicitation activities to have knowledge about the components inside the enterprise architecture which will be impacted. I take that knowledge searching for internal knowledge and for external knowledge. For example, about marketing. The process I follow is the same I wrote in a paper that was published by the PMI and others like "Best Practice". Here comes the paper just in case it can help you (the paper is focused on creating a solution but is the method I took): https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-pos...-right-solution
The same for indentify the stakeholders which are critical to engage the SMEs that will help me:
https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-pos...th-stakeholders
But taken knowledge, perform elicitation, comes first.
...
1 reply by John Scott
Feb 26, 2020 9:45 AM
John Scott
...
Hello Sergio,

Thank you the links I will certainly check those out. appreciate your insight
Feb 25, 2020 3:27 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
John -

Would suggest a few options to explore in parallel:

1. Find someone who IS a SME in these and see if they are willing to have a few lunches or coffee meetings with you to fill in some of the gaps

2. Self-study during evenings and weekends using online resources or even a course - your company may be willing to subsidize that

3. Speak to other PMs who are managing similar projects, ideally in your company, but if not, in your local area. They would be able to help you understand the domain through a PM lens.

Good luck!

Kiron
Thank you Kiron, I will look towards my local chapter to see if there is anyone in my related areas. I am the Only PM here, a big reason I joined the community
Feb 25, 2020 3:54 PM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
John, I think the problem lies in 'the teams seem to think I should'.

Ask yourself why this is, talk to the team individually, define your role (and theirs) and identify road-blockers of the team outside the technical area.

It is a matter of trust building, and not taking on a fight on authority in an area you will likely loose. Choose the battle field is a good strategy.

It is a typical movie plot that a leader shows his value in turbulent times but was previously rejected. Find these films and see how it works.
Thank you Thomas, you are correct in where to problem lies. I'll do my best to learn the process of these fields better so I understand how to "speak their Language"
Feb 26, 2020 7:37 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
I will ask with basement on I am living from long time ago including it my actual work place. For each initiative before I start working I perform elicitation activities to have knowledge about the components inside the enterprise architecture which will be impacted. I take that knowledge searching for internal knowledge and for external knowledge. For example, about marketing. The process I follow is the same I wrote in a paper that was published by the PMI and others like "Best Practice". Here comes the paper just in case it can help you (the paper is focused on creating a solution but is the method I took): https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-pos...-right-solution
The same for indentify the stakeholders which are critical to engage the SMEs that will help me:
https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-pos...th-stakeholders
But taken knowledge, perform elicitation, comes first.
Hello Sergio,

Thank you the links I will certainly check those out. appreciate your insight
...
1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Feb 26, 2020 9:50 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
...
You are welcome. I hope it helps you. Just to comment, while my background is software/system engineering I had (and I still) manage programs/projects from lot of differents domains using what I stated above. As you know, no matter you are leading programs/projects inside the organization you are working for, the components are totally diverse and belong to totally different organizations business units.
Feb 25, 2020 3:33 PM
Replying to George Freeman
...
John,

I espouse an approach called “Architectural Awareness,” which is an approach for navigating domains through architectural knowledge; that is, non-engineering big-picture knowledge that focuses on the strategy and structure of domains.

You don’t need to be an expert in these different domains, but you do need the ability to Understand, Interpret, and Communicate within them. Having this ability will allow you to:

- Collaborate: Comprehend, keep-up-with, and materially participate in domain-specific discussions using audience vernacular.
- Moderate: Moderate discussions through acumen (i.e., keen insight) level knowledge of the subject matter.
- Challenge: Challenge-out resolutions through principled level knowledge of the subject matter.

You can view the Collaborate, Moderate, and Challenge as competency levels of Architectural Awareness. With the first step being collaboration. So, to summarize, you want to have a 30k foot view of the domains of concern on your project, understanding how they structured and their purpose, along with their relationship with each other.

Focus your first efforts on understanding, interpreting, and communicating at a level that allows collaborative efforts. Once you have this level, you can then advance to Moderate and then Challenging. Always remember, that even after obtaining “Architectural Awareness,” that you are NOT the SME, although you may become recognized as such at some point in the process.

Food for thought.
Hello George,

Thank you for the insight. I appreciate it.
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