"Project Management Outside of the Workplace"

Posted by admin on 03/05/2020 1:59 pm  /   Home Page Highlights, Spotlights

By: Grace Miller, PMI Houston contributor



I’ve found over the years, that although a work-life balance is absolutely important, sometimes your work-life and your life outside of work intermix. The concepts I’ve learned at work frequently spill over into my personal life and the takeaways I have from my life outside of work naturally carry over into the workplace.


An example of this is the training I took through a previous employer several years ago called the “Social Styles” model, developed by the TRACOM Group. The objective of this model is to determine a person’s preferences or style by observing them and then using that information to adjust your own behavior in order to interact better with them. I’ve found this model to be extremely effective.


This model can be used in many different situations, but in a work environment, it usually comes into play when decisions need to be made. For example, if you know your stakeholder or other decision-maker has an analytical social style, you know that you must present all of the facts and figures in great detail in order to obtain approval. Alternatively, if you know they have a driver social style, you would not choose to go through the nitty-gritty details. Rather, you would discuss the main points at a high level and present concise recommendations that will allow them to come to a swift decision.


Translating this model into your social interactions could mean understanding how frequently and in what manner friends or family want to be communicated with or perhaps what style people will default to in a group setting.


How this concept applies to project management is that, as I’ve recently discovered, while it is most often a means of professional credibility and a skillset used at work, it can be utilized in another way entirely – in a job search.


I would assume most adults have gone through this grueling process at some point in their career, and I would assume most know that job searching is not only a project in itself, but it’s also a full-time job. Unfortunately, as money does not grow on trees, jobs also do not appear out of thin air. It takes time, prioritization, and a thick skin to get to the finish line. There is a steep learning curve, but eventually, and with time, things start to fall into place.


One of the many benefits of having a project management skillset is that it can aid you in this process in many ways. For example, it can help with the development of your communication strategy, employing expert judgment, and generating a solid plan to guide your search and build your network. Project management skills can also help in other ways, like having and using an agile mindset (remember the steep learning curve!), using the stakeholder engagement assessment model to understand who the decision-makers are in your network and where gaps exist and managing the scope of your search. Finally, as with all successful projects, it can help to reinforce the importance of lessons learned register, which helps to not only avoid future mistakes but to capture the knowledge you’ve acquired throughout the process.