Reflections on Fear No Project PM Blog

I have been writing the Fear No Project blog for three years now — over 150 posts. When I began, I was not sure that I had all that much to say or that I would have the time to create the kind of blog I could be proud of and others would find useful. Now I can truthfully say that I enjoy the process, the interaction of comments and the result.

I know that a significant contributor to my good feelings about the blog is the comments, shared information and suggestions from readers. I sincerely appreciate the time many of you have taken to add your knowledge to this community of practice. In 2011, we achieved a milestone of having 100,000 page views — I am humbled.

Here are some stats from blog:

Page Views

FearNoProject Page Views

Page views increased monthly – that sure was reinforcing!

Top Posts

The 5 favorite Fear No Project posts based on number of page views were:

Project Management: Keys to managing a virtual or remote project team

What’s in a name—job title inflation hits project management

Project Management Buzzwords and Clichés

Surviving a new boss: 10 Guidelines for briefing your new boss

Project Management Ethics and Rules of Conduct

 

The blog received over 300 comments. The most commented on posts were:

Collaboration Tools for Virtual Project Teams

My favorite project management links and websites

Do you need a PMO (Project Management Office)?

 

The project management news in 2011 included much discussion about moving applications, communication and data to the cloud. Small and large organizations increased their interest in software development approaches that would allow more customer focused applications and faster turnaround from concept to development. There was also continuous discussion in the media and on the web about the impact of social media and mobile devices. Fear No Project talked about all of these in addition to posts on content, risk and resource management. We talked about project manager career planning, professionalism and continuous learning. And of course, there were many posts on the minutiae of managing people and projects effectively.

 

What to expect from Fear No Project in 2012

Don’t ask me!  I don’t know. Inspiration for post topics happens from listening to employees, talking with clients and colleagues, reading, even eavesdropping at the airport. Clients ask questions or a stranger will make an observation that may provoke a post. Additionally, the comments and questions that readers pose get me to thinking. So, if you have an area of project or general management that you think our community would find interesting, provocative or educational, do not hesitate to make a comment and tell me.

I would like to take a moment and thank two key people for their support, edits and thoughts on the Blog – Karen McGraw and Barbara Brown!

Meanwhile, I hope you and yours have a safe, happy and productive 2012!

Defending the Project Management Profession

Project management is not just something you do when you cannot get a real job. Project management is a profession and project managers are professionals. I am probably preaching to the choir here, but having recently seen ads for fast, cheap and simple project management training and tools, I felt the need to state firmly my position on this matter.

Project managers must possess a wide range of skills that include technical knowledge, organizational ability, seeing the big picture and most importantly, they must communicate effectively. A project manager achieves job satisfaction through directing others. Project managers must lead, motivate and provide an effective work environment. Behind the scenes, the manager plans, observes, assesses and solves problems both technical and people-related. It is a not a job for the faint of heart.

Becoming a Project Manager
If you aspire to be a project manager, preparation is essential. Most of your project management education will happen outside of an academic classroom. However, in addition to technical classes, a future manager benefits from formal instruction in communication, systems thinking and business intelligence. And, a couple general business classes won’t hurt.

Once employed, pay attention to the behavior of managers you respect and those you do not. Try to find commonalities in skills and personality traits. Compare the skills you admire with your own abilities and seek to enhance areas that are weak.

Learn from practitioners. This can include joining local project management groups, taking PMI or vendor sponsored classes, and reading articles and blog posts by project managers. Beside Fear No Project, I think you will find useful information from the bloggers I have listed on my Blogroll. (also see My favorite project management links and websites)

Because effective communication is essential to project managers, look for opportunities to practice including writing articles and proposals and giving presentations. Ask for feedback and work to improve your communication skills.

Learn to use PM tools including planning, scheduling, costing, tracking and report writing.

Seek out opportunities to practice managing. You can volunteer to lead a special project, assist the lead engineer or PM or even manage projects outside of your work environment. You need to develop the mindset of “thinking like a manager” instead of thinking like a contributor.
Preparing for becoming a professional project manager takes time and seasoning. Most small project managers have 3 – 5 years experience and those managing complex programs often have more than 10 years in the field, at least half of which involved project management of smaller projects.

Whether you pursue a PMP certification or not, be aware and appreciate the skills that define the field. In addition to formal academic and experience requirements, PMPs pass an examination of knowledge on all aspects of project management including initiating, planning executing, monitoring and control and closing a project. In addition, each PMP meets the requirements for continuing education hours in the field.

So whether you want to be a project manager or you are seeking to hire one, do not be mislead by false claims that becoming a project manager is fast, cheap or easy; it is not.

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