Have you ever been in a situation where things got totally out of control? A time when you thought your project had already failed.
It can be REALLY scary and frustrating, especially because you are the only one who cares about the project. You’ve put your name out there, and everone is expecting you to get the job done.
What if you don’t know how to go ahead?
Who can you ask for advice?
Your team? Not a good idea. You don’t want to be seen as a helpless chicken.
Your boss? To speak your soul it’s ok. But don’t expect help on the HOW TO. Line managers are not a project managers, and they usually are not familiar with project management methods.
Where else could you get help?
#1: Find a senior project manager as mentor
The best and fastest way to grow your skills is by having a mentor. This should be a senior project manager in your organization, or, if there is no one, someone from another company in your town.
A mentorship is not the place to get ad hoc help on small topics (“3 people declined my meeting request. What should I do?”). It’s an opportunity for you to learn new strategies and methods from somebody who’s been in the field for a long time.
Great topics to discuss with a mentor:
- how to plan a project
- how to become more assertive
- communicating with management
- how to handle difficult people
- dealing with stress
#2: Join a chapter of a project management organization
Most organizations which offer certifications in project management have a worldwide network of local chapters. These are local groups in the major cities where project managers meet on a regular basis for the purpose of mutual help and knowledge-sharing.
You could visit a local PMI chapter from the Project Management Institute (PMI). If you intend to become a regular guest, you may have to sign up for membership, but it doesn’t cost a fortune. The great thing is you have access to highly-skilled project managers in your area.
#3: Visit Reddit (or other online forums)
There is a subreddit about project management where a lot of advanced project managers hang out. It kind of has the touch of an old boys club where certified project managers show off their methodological knowledge, but there are also ordinary project managers here who can give you hands-on advice for your burning issues.
This is a great example of a well-formulated question:
It is very specific and the person is showing competence by suggesting different solutions. Also, he or she is giving context, which enables us to provide directed help.
#3: Ask me
Helping others in getting better at managing projects is something I really enjoy. It’s the reason why I launched Tactical Project Manager. Therefore I am happy to give you my feedback if there’s something you are stuck with. Just send me an email.
Topics I’ve helped others with in the past:
- “How do I find a good project to start with?”
- “How should I deal with objection?”
- “I feel awkward during meetings. How can I become more confident?”
- “People are not showing up at my teleconferences. What can I do?”
There is nothing wrong with asking for help
Many people feel uncomfortable asking others for help. They are worried about exposing their weaknesses. We are not supposed to show any weaknesses, right? That’s stupid.
How do you want to become better in your job if you are not learning from those who are a bit ahead of you? Those who have already gone through the fire and have found workarounds for the same problems you might be struggling with right now.
Ask for help. Learn. Grow.