Two years ago I decided to make a career change. The decision to become a Prince2 Practitioner Project Manager was an easy one.
I realised that throughout my career I have been involved in projects. The many political campaigns I was involved in, my work in trade unions organising workplaces and my involvement in students associations all involved project management. With unions I was trying to improve workplace conditions and the relationship between union members and their employer. My work with local and central government advocating for public servants, involved a considerable degree of project management. And any form of political campaign involves project management.
A project according to Prince2 is the means by which we introduce change.
Specifically, project management is about setting up a temporary structure or organisation to manage this change. This change will be clearly defined with a clear end point to the project stated in the project plan.
I soon realised when studying Prince2 that whether consciously or not this is what I had been doing for years in my work. Studying Project management gave me the tools to build upon what I’d already been doing.
In addition to a career change, I also moved from Wellington (NZ) to London (my first time living overseas) and founded Piko London. This was one of the ballsiest and risky decisions I’d ever made. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Since moving to London, through Piko I have worked on projects for tech startups project managing the launch of new products using blockchain technology. Piko has also been contracted to do work in the retail space, specifically project managing a sales growth campaign. I also dabbled in a bit of political work, doing a project plan for a campaign to support precarious workers. I’ve also done some small event management contracts. You can read my full CV on linkedIn
One of the key aspects of a project is tolerances. Having clear tolerances for timeframes, cost and quality scope is crucial. When you hear or projects going way over budget, or being delayed by a few years, or not delivering on the outcomes promised at the start, a project manager will be asking ‘what was in your project plan’. Too often project plans are treated like sales pitches, rather than a viable plan to deliver a product or run a campaign. A good Project Manager will outline the project’s goals and the desired end state. But they will also be upfront and transparent with stakeholders about any risks or issues that may arise.
I’m looking forward to the new projects I pick up in 2019. Having a background both in the SME and tech sectors as well as the public sector gives me a good broad base of experience. I do enjoy managing projects that launch new products or systems. I am not a computer geek, however I enjoy projects where new technology is being created that will change and improve people’s lives. Being a project manager is about change, but also about making a difference. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the next challenge.