Project Management

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Topics: Government
PM in a Paramilitary organization
Does anyone have any experience in working on projects within a Paramilitary organization? Simply, you cannot talk to someone that isn't your commanding officer or your subordinate. Asking for work from someone lateral to you results in sharp admonishment as you have no right to request tasks of someone else's subordinate. I'm having trouble getting much done having no resources under me but a long list of requests from someone else's soldiers. My commander does not respond to any communication but walking into his office for the few hours a day he's in, so I'm having trouble with electronic communications going unanswered. Any advice or stories?
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Ugh. You're in a hostile, siloed environment. It's the worst place for a PM to be, because you have ability but no authority, resources, or support from above. When your projects inevitably experience problems you'll be blamed.
This is a no-win situation for you. If possible, leave as soon as you can.
Thanks for the bad news. I'm at step 0 in my PM career and halfway through my service in the only career I've ever had. It just means it'll be a bit of portfolio building, freelancing, schooling, certifications, and saving. It'll give me time to either change the organization or make myself marketable enough to leave. Either way it has to get better.
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1 reply by Eric Simms
Jul 01, 2020 8:05 AM
Eric Simms
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Part of being a PM is avoiding being placed in a situation you can't win, or leaving such a situation before you suffer as a result. It's not uncommon for executives to set up PMs to fail to advance their own agendas, destroying the PM's career in the process.
It sounds like learning whatever you can in preparation for your next position is the best thing you can do right now. Certifications like the CAPM and PMP will instantly increase your marketability more than schooling.
This is typical for most organizations as it is extremely rare for a PM to have people "under" him.

In the non-military or non-militarized organizations however the communication is not that rigid and employees can do work at the request of other employees without having to receive an order from their commander.

In the non-military organizations it is common for someone of a lower lever to assign work to someone with a higher level. You don't have to be a boss or line manager to ask people to do work for you. In the military however things may be different.

Military organization would not change for the sake of project management so you either adapt or never work in this kind of organizations. The chain of command and doing work only by following orders is very important for these organizations.
Jun 30, 2020 6:45 PM
Replying to Nicholas Johnson
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Thanks for the bad news. I'm at step 0 in my PM career and halfway through my service in the only career I've ever had. It just means it'll be a bit of portfolio building, freelancing, schooling, certifications, and saving. It'll give me time to either change the organization or make myself marketable enough to leave. Either way it has to get better.
Part of being a PM is avoiding being placed in a situation you can't win, or leaving such a situation before you suffer as a result. It's not uncommon for executives to set up PMs to fail to advance their own agendas, destroying the PM's career in the process.
It sounds like learning whatever you can in preparation for your next position is the best thing you can do right now. Certifications like the CAPM and PMP will instantly increase your marketability more than schooling.
My 5 year plan is to get my Business degree with minor in PM since work has tuition assistance, CAPM before the summer is done assuming I can get off my butt, and push for some projects to work up to my hour needs so I can PMP by the time the degree is done. Hopefully it won't take 5 years to go from AA to BS but two jobs and family... gotta keep those timelines realistic.

So I understand you NEED a degree (+3yrs experience) or a lot of PM experience (5 yr) to apply for PMP, correct?
Maybe paramilitary is a bit behind, but military leadership today is different than we are imagining, have a look for example

https://youtu.be/e754hUwPTaI

German General von Moltke promoted intent (purpose) driven commands in 1865, and the German army used it since. Other armies got to this only after WWII.

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