Applying PMBOK Principles to "Your Job Search Project"

    By Chizzy Menkiti MBA, PMP, CSM

    As Project Managers, we all expect that our projects will end successfully and we will move on to the next one - right? But what if your project ends suddenly - project funding dries up, business priorities change, you are made redundant?? How do you go about searching for your next project?

    Most recommend - “Treat your job search like a project!”

    (Except this is pro-bono work…)

    Let’s take a look at the process of a ‘Job Search’ using the PMI Process Groups and Knowledge Areas.

    (Next month, we will talk about running this as an Agile Project).

    Project Integration Management: There are a few practical steps (A - F) in this area:

    • Accept the loss of the old role. Document why you need the new job and start identifying those who will be impacted by your new job (INITIATING)
    • Bear in mind that you lost a job, not your sense of worth
    • Come up with a plan of action for your job search (PLANNING) and document it (this way, you stay accountable to yourself)
    • Deliver on your plan (EXECUTING)
    • Enforce the plan (through MONITORING AND CONTROL)
    • Finally, when you do get the job (congratulations!), document your lessons learned and close out the “Job Search” project (CLOSE) whilst you get ready for your next project.

     

    Project Scope Management :

    The scope of this project is simple: Find (good) Employment.

    Do some soul searching to determine the type of role and the industries you are interested in.

    Document these requirements.

    Project Schedule Management: What is your timeline for your job search?

    (Be kind to yourself and give yourself some time to recover from the shock of job loss, the mental disorientation of not having a regular routine and the loss of a regular paycheck)

    Some factors to consider when considering your timeline will be how much money you have in the bank and how far it will go (see Project cost Management below), how much time do I need to create a resume, research current interview techniques, register on job boards, etc.

    What are the activities that need to be carried out for this ‘Job Search project’ to be successful?

    Project Cost Management: The sudden loss of a job means that you lose that regular paycheck. Check your finances and see exactly how much you have and how long you can last for. This will help you determine how flexible you need to be in your job search. How much do you have? How much do you need? What immediate lifestyle changes do you need to make? How low can you go on an offer?

    Project Quality Management: Whilst the primary goal is to get a job, you also want to get a job that meets your needs. Do some soul-searching and research to identify what you are looking for in your next role and seek opportunities in organizations that share your same ideals. For some, it might be more of the same. For others, it might be something different. This will be your ‘quality yardstick’ for this project.

    Project Resource Management: The primary resource is you - the job seeker. However, there are other resources which could help with meeting the goals of this project. Spend time identifying resources - people in your network, professional groups, social media tools, your time, your health, your mindset, your expectations etc that could help you with this project. It is important to remain focused - a plus on any project.

    Project Communications Management: Communications is a key part of your ‘Job Search’ project. How do you inform your network that you are available? When the interviews and phone calls start coming in, are you prepared to communicate effectively and positively why you are the best fit for the position? Do you have a solid response for the all-time favorite - ‘Why did you leave your last job?’ Do you have a good, positive explanation - devoid of bitterness or spite?

    Project Risk Management: What are the risks associated with the ‘Job Search project’?

    I may not get a job, with the company I want, as quickly as I want, for the pay that I expect. Then what? 

    Keep in mind, the items identified under Costs will still exist and the Schedule might become even more constrained as the days, weeks, months go by... What is your plan B? Do you need to revise your scope? How do you hope to address this risk?

    Project Procurement Management: Losing a job suddenly might mean the loss of a company car, a company laptop or a company phone. Sometimes, depending on how long you’ve been at an organization, even the company email address might be the only email address you’ve ever had! You need to plan for these changes in the early stages of your “Job Search project” to ensure that you have all the tools you need to start your job search effectively without interruption. What process do you have in place to ensure that you have the tools and resources you need?

    Project StakeHolder Management: The primary stakeholders here are your immediate family and your creditors. You will need to keep them informed.

    Family: Keep them informed of the loss and discuss with them the full impact of your loss.

    Creditors: Keep them informed as necessary. Don’t wait till the debt-collectors turn up on your porch.

    As with all stakeholders, the communication depends on the individual’s level of involvement. What you tell your spouse/life partner, is not what you will tell your 4yr old daughter or your mortgage provider. Tailor the communication to suit the stakeholder.

    For Project Managers who work with plans, losing a job suddenly can be daunting, traumatizing even. After all, losing the job was not a line item on the original project plan! However, the good news is that you are not alone and it can happen to anyone - even the best people!

    There are lots of useful resources on the internet - PMI website, Job Boards, Salary projection websites, Interview coaching sites, Resume writing and career guidance websites - to help you with this all-important project. Speak to people who have been through this and understand how they transitioned (or how they are transitioning). Above all, stay positive! Good luck!

     

    Feedback: We’d love to hear what your thoughts are. Please feel free to send your comments to outreachcontenteditor@pmihouston.org

    Translation Challenges in Communication

    By: Paula Arthur, PMI Houston

    In the business world, there are many ways to communicate. Human behavior can dictate the tone, intention, and expectations of one’s writing style. Depending on your project objectives, it’s all about perspective. Different experience levels and personalities will always exist, however working in groups is the new normal.

    How can project managers and communicators improve translation in a diverse and dynamic marketplace? 

    According to Merriam Webster dictionary, translation is the process of changing one form of words or text from one language to another.

    We can simply start by focusing on basic methods in language proficiency which include speaking, listening, reading, writing and ultimately translating.  Another theory to improve translation is the use of syntactic cues. 

    Kohl defines syntactic cues as elements or aspects of language that help readers correctly analyze sentence structure and to identify parts of speech. The goal is to improve sentence structure for easier translation with native and non-native speakers. For example, the use of suffixes, articles, prepositions, auxiliary verbs, and word order.  Project managers and writers may use syntactic cues, but it is most optimal in simple sentences.  Kohl believes that syntactic cues actually reduce translation costs by reducing the number of ambiguities that translators are forced to resolve.

    Communication is affected by many factors and the environment. In healthcare, communication was impacted by the Executive Order 13166 (EO) which is legislation issued to provide equal access to healthcare services to groups who speak limited English. Germaine-McDaniel affirms the high demand for translated materials and how health organizations strive to accommodate the immigrant population. Due to the consequences, most healthcare organizations turn to technical communicators with expertise in localization and writing for translation. 

    Regardless of project type or location, project managers are obligated to deliver well-designed and user-friendly messages. Project Managers should be cognizant of new rules and updates. Although sometimes gathering information, digesting the details and ultimately translating information is overwhelming, we still have to find a way to be productive within diverse teams whilst staying compliant with all legal requirements.

    Project managers must ensure all documents produced are translatable and easy to understand by teams and clients. In the future, we cannot solely rely on finding technical communicators and appropriate resources to become better translators.