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Project MBA

As some of you may know, I have been working on my Master’s in Business Administration Degree at our local University for the past 2 years.  After several group projects, homework, presentations, and exams, this rewarding project came to an end last Saturday, December 10th, by walking across stage at graduation and enjoying a graduation party with family and friends.

Over the course of my time in school, I have met some neat life-long friends and mentors, experienced some interesting project groups & discussions, enjoyed some insightful lectures, developed a great learning toolbox full of helpful techniques and tips, and several great memories.  Since this project’s closure, I have been asked by several individuals, “What’s your next set of goals?”

  • Are you going to get your PhD?
  • Start your own business or become a manager?
  • Travel the world?
  • Teach a college course?
  • Start a family of your own?

Honestly, it is an interesting question to reflect upon before answering, especially when you have completed one project in your live, such as school, for which you have done for a very long time.  Yes, in this case, learning never stops, but maybe sitting in a formal education setting may.

So, what’s next?  Most importantly, I am excited to spend more time with my family and friends and thank them for all of their love and support they have given me, as I could not have completed this accomplishment without them.  I plan to enjoy cooking, baking, go on vacations, relax (if I know what that word means J), but I look forward to what is about to come and is written down in my next chapter in my book of life.  Life is a journey and you don’t know what path you’ll head down, but it’s nice to have an open door of several opportunities before me. 

What is your next project or goals you are reaching for this upcoming New Year?

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2011 in Introduction, My Experience, Project Team

 

What is Project Management?

What Does a Project Mean:

PMI defines a project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to achieve a unique product, service or result

What is the Role of the Project Manager?

  • Bring people together to solve problems and take advantage of new opportunities
  • Manage information about value, quality, time and cost
  • Define the project, plan for the project, communicate to others, track the progress, measuring success, report to upper management, make decisions, support the project and team members, and coordinate project events, such as meetings

Why Does Project Management Matter?

  • Failure to run large projects can sink a small company
  • Weight of several failed projects can drag down profits to a point where a big company is susceptible to acquisition by a competitor and losing its independence

Growing as a Project Manager:

  • Data-Oriented to People-Oriented
    • As a technical person, things and data do what you tell them, while people may not
    • Learn to relax and enjoy unpredictability and diversity
  • Worker Bee to a Manager
    • As a worker bee, you are able to accomplish many things when you sit down and do them
    • Management means doing less busy work and more of delegating,
    • Shift from being dependable to reliable to get the job done and deliver positive results
  • Manager to Leader
    • A project manager, it requires leadership skills to create an environment where a group of people can come together and get things done
    • Some leadership skills required as a project manager include:
      • Inspiring team members
      • Good communication skills
      • Maintain integrity
      • Create enthusiasm in the project team
      • Show empathy
      • Stay cool under pressure, as so on

One thing I have found is that by having a technical and project management background is that it provides you with a strong foundation that can open several doors of opportunity in your career path as both are required skill sets needed by all business.  In addition, project management can be quite a rewarding career path, as it gives you the chance to help others and organizations achieve milestones, while getting the chance to work with several different types of people and learn from them.  

What are your Pros and Cons about the Project Management Field?

 

What’s Your Project Management Story?

When growing up, I told my parents I wanted to be graphics designer, then physical therapy, then teacher, and then finally decided on a career path in Information Systems that provided me with a business background. Throughout my student experience in high school and college, you would find me as the project leader in several group assignments, as I enjoyed the process of organizing team meetings, keeping everyone up to date on the project progress, and lastly putting together the report to turn in.  School projects can sure be a challenge sometimes when working around everyone’s schedules, but you start to get a favor of project management in action.

After getting my feet wet in the technical field for a few years, I later fell into a project management position where I got to use my technical and management skills to help improve the process for others in their day-to-day job and the organization as a whole.  Although project management can be stressful at times, it can also be a rewarding experience knowing that you can influence other people and open the door to new opportunities for an organization through your management skills.

What Are Some Tips I’ve Learned Thus Far As a Project Manager:

  • Find a Mentor:  I tend to surround myself with several mentors that have a variety of experiences and expertise, so I can bounce ideas off of and receive different viewpoints on a given topic.
  •  Lead a Non-Profit Organization: It can be challenge at times trying to motivate others to help you do things for free, but through the kindness of their hearts knowing their service is appreciated.  I will say it has been such a rewarding experience and will help you grow not only as a leader, but as becoming a better person.
  • Read Project Management Books & Blogs:  I cannot tell you how much I have learned through my experience of reading PM books and blog posts, as it can provide you with several tips and experiences of things to avoid or do that can help you in your project management career.  
  • Ask for Advice: It may be intimating at first, but several people are willing to help you if you just ask them.  I have asked others my colleagues, family, friends, and my twitter friends, and have really appreciated the feedback I have received.
  • Never Give Up: Trust me, you will make mistakes, you will be stressed at times, you may feel everything is going wrong and just want to quit, but remember, I find it is important that people remember me for my hard-work, dedication and persistence to learn from my mistakes, take a breather every now and then, and know there are steep mountains that you will face, but never give up on the end goal.  
  • Keep a Smile On Your Face: Although managing projects can be very stressful with changes, issues, and new projects flying your way all the time, I find it is so important to keep a smile on your face and keep a positive attitude as others will appreciate your upbeat personality that could just make someone’s day that much better
I have enjoyed my career path thus far in project management and find I am always excited to face the next challenge, as I know each experience will allow me to grow further not only on a professional level, but also as person too!  So, what is your project management story?
 

What Happens When Things Don’t Go As Planned

Several people tend to call me a “jack-of-all-trades” when they hear about all of the projects that I manage or participate in not only at work, but also in my personal life. One of these projects is that I am a Nevada Beekeeper with my family. When growing up as a little girl, you could find our family going to people’s homes to remove bee swarms, tending the bee hives each weekend, having my Dad come to my elementary school classes to talk to my classmates as honey bees, or spending each Labor Day Weekend with my neighbors rending the honey from everyone’s hive boxes into the saved mason jars throughout the year, so each family could enjoy the joys of the wonderful local Nevada honey!

Last Sunday, we received a normal bee swarm removal call from a nearby neighbor, so we gathered our bee suit, hive boxes, and equipment to check out the area where the honey bees were buzzing around. At the bee swarm location, we saw a 60+ year old tree that fallen down, that in two locations, had honey bees flying in and out of the hollowed out tree. So, we took out our chainsaw to cut the tree into smaller sections, in the hopes of finding at least one large bee swarm inside. We were excited to find 2 very strong bee swarms that were inside the tree and transported the swarm into a hive boxes. The homeowner was also quite delighted to have the bee swarms, so the tree could be cut into firewood and out of his yard—a win-win situation I must say. Well, while taking off our bee suits, a honey bee came buzzing along and headed straight for my eye and you can probably guess what happened next…. yes, I ended up getting stung right under my left eye. After quickly removing the bee stinger out from under my eye, we decided it was time to take our two new bee swarms home and allow me to grab a few Benadryl’s to help in reducing the swelling from the bee sting.

As usual, my work week was pretty well-booked with a rollout of a customer promotion, presentation/training with our cross-functional departments, and several status-update meetings for my projects. I went into work on Monday, although my eye had swollen up like I had a bag under my left eye. Unfortunately, by mid-day, my boss sent me home as the swelling started to expand down my cheek, making one side of my face look like my wisdom teeth were taken out. (Yes, I have been stung several times as a beekeeper, but actually the first time under my eye. There are some bee stings that are not bad, while others are not so kind). Well, after a trip to urgent care, my eye is thankfully back to normal and only ended up taking a day and a half off from work to reduce the swelling so I could see out of my left eye again.

Although, my original plan wasn’t to get stung by a bee and end up taking time off work to recover from my swollen eye, but I was still able to keep my projects moving forward, roll out a customer promotion, train the cross-functional departments, and complete the IT development work on a few of my projects, through the gracious help of my fellow co-workers, organization, and the ability to check my e-mails from home.

Although, we may not be able to plan our life out to every detail, as we are faced with different obstacles and opportunities, but the things you can control are how you react/deal with what life brings you to make the very best of it and the gracious help of others.

I want to thank my fellow co-workers for all your help this week and other weeks, as no matter what challenges we face, everyone helps out each other to get the job done.  Great team work!! Thank you!!

How have you handle a situation/task that didn’t go as you had originally planned?

 

The Project Sponsor

A project sponsor plays an important role in all projects, as without them, the project would not have been proposed.  Below I have outlined the roles of the sponsor and what roles the project manager has in regards to the sponsor(s).   

Roles of the Project Sponsor:

  • Individuals that recognize the strong business need for the project
  • Have an interest in seeing the project succeed and supports the project manager and project team
  • Person or group that provides the financial resources for the project
  • The project sponsor should have an idea of the business value that is gained from the project, both in tangible (Ex. 2% reduction in operating costs) and intangible ways (Ex. improved customer service, competitive position)
  • Acts as an advisor/mentor to the project manager
  • Removes obstacles
  • Writes the Project Charter
  • Helps to define the project team roles and responsibilities
  • Reviews and approves statements of work/contracts and planning documents
  • Ultimately is accountable for the success of the project
  • Becomes the focal point for issues management and decision-making whenever the project manager’s scope of authority is exceeded

Roles of the Project Manager:

  • Make sure you understand who the project sponsors are
  • You need to ensure that the project sponsors has enough authority and influence to undertake the work and bring about the proposed change in affected parts of the organization
  • The project manager will need to guide the sponsors throughout the project and keep them apprised of the project’s status

Tips:

  • Significant projects will normally require sponsorship from the organization’s executive level
  • The project size or scope determined what kind of sponsor is needed
  • Great sponsors and project managers clearly articulate the root cause of the problem that is to be solved
  • The sponsor and project manager should verify the solution resolves the root cause of the problem
  • The best sponsors are from the business; leaders who want to change the way the business operates
  • Sponsors may have already constructed a good definition of the project and have a clear view of what is required
  • The project sponsor and project manager should make time to meet and discuss the project status
Please comment below with any tips/advice that you have in regards to project sponsors?
 
 

Welcome to the Journey

Hello and welcome!  I am quite excited to commence my first blog today and begin this journey of online communication with each of you, where we can share our special talents and opinions with each other.  As this may be my first time meeting you, I want to begin by giving you a brief background of myself. 

 I am a third generation Nevadan, with 2 brothers and 1 sister.  I graduated from our local university with a degree in Information Systems, which known as a “geek degree.”  I feel it was the best choice for me, as it has opened up so many doors for my thus far in my career path, as every business needs some type of computer assistance.  I understand and can write computer code in a few different languages, but I tend to enjoy interacting with others by managing projects from start to finish, automating process or simply increase efficiencies in business processes.  Outside of work, I am an active member in several Masonic Organizations, enjoy the outdoors when I have a moment, and currently, I am developing a website for a honey company, in which my family and I plan to begin honey production this year.  I enjoy learning from others and love to help others, so I am eager for this opportunity of blogging.  

 I look forward to this journey online and blogging around several topics related to technology, business, personal experiences, and so much more.  My goal is to create an environment where we can all benefit through each other’s talents and learning from each other.   Finally, I wanted to leave you a quote that Professor Randy Pausch’s wrote in his “The Last Lecture” book:  “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Introduction

 
 
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