By Stuart Corrigan, 2022.
Are you a Project Manager, Scrum Master, or Product Owner? Do you have a big career change planned, or promotion planned for next year? Here’s how to make it happen…
Yes, I know, another note about New Years resolutions and taking a different path in 2023. The problem with taking a different path is that a.) you must make sure the path you are currently on is the wrong one, and b.) you must know which other path to take instead.
Let’s say that 2023 is the year you are absolutely going to get your career on track and secure that promotion or new job. Well, first you must understand what you’re doing wrong right now, and get some support on what to do differently. For those Project Managers and Scrum Masters that we’ve helped to accelerate their career, generally their problems fall into three areas:
- The method by which they are trying to get results is inadequate. In our studies, every single Agile or Waterfall project we looked at were not getting results, despite numerous and expensive courses, the introduction of fancy ceremonies and the latest tech. In one recent Agile system, products were taking ten times longer on average than expected to get to the client… no one knew.
- There was insufficient knowledge about how to market yourself and influence those higher up so that when you do get a great idea, it gets implemented.
- Even if the previous two were in place, those that wanted the big job, were unable to organise their day for maximum impact, to make sure that the right things were getting done. David Allen, the creator of ‘Getting Things Done’, reminds us that we can do anything but not everything. Choose your high value activities wisely.
So, when asked about career acceleration for Project Managers and Scrum Masters I always give the following advice:
1.Detail your current ways of working, the results you’re getting from them and what you might do differently. For example, see below for projects, most people are still stuck on the left-hand side.
|Industrial Thinking||Critical Chain Thinking|
|Planning||Planning is remote, singular and involvement by asking for permission to proceed.||Collaborative, the whole team is involved in the planning and time-based estimating.|
|Task Management||Teams are flooded with tasks; multi-tasking is the norm and constant shifting priorities.||Work is limited. One task at a time – work is done in the correct sequence, priorities are rarely changed.|
|Incoming Work||Just get started, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have everything you need.||Only start if you can finish.|
|When Blocked||Move to the next piece of work.||Stop and get help. Don’t move to the next piece of work.|
|Measures||Fortnightly update, subjective view based on opinion.||Measures are reported daily based on objective remaining durations and safety consumption with explicit corrective actions.|
2. Marketing and Influencing Up.
It’s no good if you are the brightest, most technical person on the planet, you’d better be good at sharing your ideas. I was once in a mastermind group of presenters with someone that helped Steve Jobs with his presentations. He said that every word, every slide was crafted for maximum impact. Paul Mckenna, used to have a radio show, but he prepped for every show like he was on TV. Nothing left to chance. This is how to you must approach sharing your ideas. So, here are some ideas to get you going.
Map out all the steps required to build authority and curiosity with leaders. For example…
- Learn how to research projects, write about your findings, and send out interesting content (articles, white papers, etc.) about issues you know that your boss is struggling with at present.
- Learn how to write e-mails that will capture their attention and get them to read your stuff.
- Learn how to present so that you make a massive impact when you are in front of a leader.
- Learn how to take them on a normative journey, meaning you help them see the issues for themselves, they think the idea for change is theirs.
- Learn how to design and run experiments so that you can point to changes and results.
3. Learn How to Organise Yourself.
I have spent lots of money on coaching over the years, I mean lots. Around five years ago, got accredited to teach David Allen’s Method for productivity. I still have periods in my day where, frankly I get tired (hey I’m old now) but the key thing I learned from this method was simply this, you can do anything but not everything, so choose the high value activities.
- Write out your perfect day, what do all your high value activities look like?
- Write out your tasks in sizes that will take no more than 20 mins, otherwise you’ll procrastinate.
- Have three categories of lists: Next actions (20 minute tasks), Projects (a list of bigger pieces of work, this is to keep you focused, so that you make the right task choice), and a ‘waiting for’ list (to remind you of what you’ve asked others to do).
If you would like a copy of David Allen’s book for free – email me at [email protected] and I’ll get it organised for you.
As I said, I’ve spent a small fortune over the years learning all the above methods. My key piece of advice of course is that you should do the same! You’ll need a bank loan and a few years to complete the exercise, but once you’re done, you’ll be on the fast track, I promise.
But wait… how about this… join our career acceleration course for Project Managers, Scrum Masters, and Product Owners. Over a course of 12 one-hour sessions, we have distilled all our best ideas and we’ll give it to you step by step.
- A method for delivering projects or products early, no matter how bad shape your project is in today.
- How to scope out your project so that EVERYONE is on the exact same page with what’s being delivered, no more misalignment.
- How to plan so that everyone in your team is involved and agrees with what’s being built.
- How to execute for lightening fast delivery of any project or product.
- How to measure any project so that you know every single day if your project is running late, and the exact reasons why.
- How to study existing projects so that you can spot within a few hours exactly what’s going wrong in your team, department, portfolio, or organisation. This will be your superpower.
- How to take your findings and market them to those who need the information. Be seen as THE authority on projects in your business.
- How to write and share content so that senior leaders approach YOU for advice.
And much more.
Each session will take place via a webinar, two per week for six weeks, and lasts an hour. It’s also recorded so that if you miss it you can catch up later.
And the cost? It’s entirely FREE, no cost at all.
I know, you’re wondering what’s the catch? There isn’t one. We know that the best way for us to grow our business is to help you make a massive impact in yours. So, one day when you’re a big chief, we know that when you have a problem, you’ll call us.
It’s that simple, no catch, no hidden costs.
Robert Frost, the American writer said, ‘I took the road less travelled, and it made all the difference.’ Will next year be the year you take the road less travelled? Why not take the first small step, register here….