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Quickbite: You Are a Project Manager Recap

Speaker: Jill Gosnell

Jill worked as a trainer in the corporate world before her youngest child was born. After her child was born,  she decided to open a bakery giving her the chance to spend valuable time with her children on her schedule. She went on to sell her bakery and return to the field she loves, Learning and Development. Jill currently serves as a project manager of Employee development at Milliman in Indianapolis.

Jill’s Journey: 

A lot of people believe that their career path should look like a single line rising up in a smooth and consistent fashion. In reality, each person’s journey is unique to them and their circumstances. The uniqueness of a person’s journey can tend to make them feel alone. Jill felt that way for a while. Jill’s journey is unique. She believes that a lot of people feel that they are the only ones who take a twisting and turning career path. She wants you to know that you are not alone.

2006: Jill left her corporate L&D job to stay home with her kids. She and her husband knew the sacrifices they would have to make for that, but they did not anticipate the lack of adult interaction. That’s why she chose to start teaching cake decorating classes at Michaels. 

2008: Jill opened a bakery. She knew she wanted to keep a connection with her kids so she designed the business space and hours in such a way that her kids could come with her. 

2018: Jill sold at the bakery and went to work for the state of Indiana. One of the things that she did when she was looking for jobs, was sell herself short. She viewed her time at the bakery as time out of the workforce and thought she was starting from the ground up. Her error led her to do a few key things. 

  • Validate: She looked for ways to validate her previously held L&D knowledge and that’s what led her to get her certification as an associate professional in Talent Development.
  • Certification: Project management certification requires a test, and when Jill realized that the test was changing from being processed focused to people focused; she jumped at the chance to take it because of its familiarity.

2020: Jill passed her test and became a certified  project management professional (PMP). She used that certification to get her current role where she uses her project management skills as well as L&D skills.

You Are A Project Manager

What is a project? 

All projects are a temporary effort to create value through a unique product, service or result. 

5 Core Process Groups of a Project:

  1. Initiate: Recognize a problem. Research what can be done to fix it. The research phase also lets people know who needs to sign off on something before they agree to begin the project. 
  2. Planning: Get comfortable asking obvious questions. Asking those questions to clarify assumptions is a key piece of planning.
    • Don’t be afraid to assign tasks to others. 
    • Ask, “ What if?” The process of identifying risks is critical to keeping a project on time and on budget. You don’t have to make a contingency plan for every possible risk, but it’s important to make them for risks that are likely to occur and have a major impact on the project. 
    • Document your planning, your actions, and changes. 
  3. Execute: When the work starts. Some tasks that you identify may need to be completed in a certain order or can be done at the same time. Dependencies: when one task depends on the completion of another.
  4. Monitor: Monitoring is designed to keep things running the way that you planned in the beginning. If you notice changes, keep track of them and the way that you react to them. 
  5. Close: Identify what success looks like so that everyone can agree that a project is done. This may also require a transition model if you have a project that requires ongoing maintenance. 

Project Management Terminology:

Champion: Anyone who cheers for your cause. This is someone who combats naysayers and who supports you as you implement changes for a project. 

Iteration: Anytime you build on an initial result. 

Stakeholders: Any person who has a vested interest in your project. 

Resources: People and things that help you complete a project. 

“Don’t be afraid to ask dumb questions, they are easier to handle than dumb mistakes.”

Project management is not a rigid framework, it’s about getting people to do what needs to be done. The Project Management Institute is a great resource to get you started if you’re interested in project management.

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