Reflective Discussion Summary, Essay Example

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Essay

The Art of Project

This course has given a broader and greater perspective on what it takes to be a project manager, especially when it comes to all of the decisions and project activities it takes to make a project successful.  Project management is a collaborative mix of scientific and mathematical analysis intertwined with artistic manipulation of tasks to formulate a blend of form, fit and function to meet the requirements of the project.  This project gave me insight into the necessary efforts that were outside of management of tasks to support a project to how to successfully embrace project management as a leadership role on the team and help facilitate the changes needed to push the project forward.

The critical thinking skills of a project manager helps put the actual objectives of the entire project or sub-project into perspective when that perspective is needed.  The project manager has the role to ensure the entire project is successful and sometimes when team dives deep into the details of a critical issue sometimes they lose sight of the impacts they may have on the entire project.  The successful leadership of a project manager, and the critical thinking skills I appreciated from this project, include making critical decisions when the pressure is high and the information is less than optimal.  Gaining a strategic expertise of what is needed in the project and then leading the team members to execute that strategic plan is what I most admire and strive to achieve as a future project manager.

Views of a Project Manager

My view of the project manager has shifted from a temporary role during a person’s current role or even a position in a company that would eventually lead to another managerial position with direct reports to a full blown career with potential only limited by the person performing the project management position.  I am striving for a career that is not limited by the functional responsibility in which I am apart of but only by the limitations in which I can achieve.  Through exploring the depths and best practices of project management I have gain a better understanding of what I can achieve without compromising the portions of the job I excited and motivated to perform.

Application

Applications of this course came in the form of how information and a clear understanding of what is needed in a project can become the greatest assets to a project manager when a key decision needed to be made.  Project management is a skill that transcends operational units and functional roles within an organization.  This ranges from the technical skills of how to perform Earned Value Management to the soft and interpersonal skills it takes to manage and lead teams that do not directly report to the project manager.  This type of leadership influence is a skill that will help provide the additional leverage to be successful in business and in other aspects of life.  I plan on applying the project management skills to home and work but more importantly the progression through my education will help me gain my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and potentially set me up for a career in project management.

Interests and Struggles

There were some amazing learning situations that occurred throughout this project.  Prior to this course I would not have thought twice about the initial scope of a project or defining measurable objectives and deliverables at the beginning because I thought those would be developed and strived for throughout the project.  This in fact is the exactly what we as project managers should not do.  This leads to scope creep, missed opportunities, cost/schedule overruns and potentially failed or delayed projects.  Defining what needs to be achieved and sticking to those deliverables is something that I originally struggled with in project management.  When leadership asks for a change in scope or asks for a schedule change midstream it is now easier to come back to the leadership team with organized, detailed and conclusive information that points to why or more likely why not these changes should occur.  This is backed by leadership if they signed off on the scope statement and have been informed through project reviews of the status.  All of these things I was lacking in proper operating procedures, most of which are outlined in the Project Management Book of Knowledge.

The area most interesting and provocative for my project management experience was that of trade-off analysis.  Daily people make compromises on what they want to achieve during the day, week, and month etc. but rarely do they fully understand what those trade-offs entail.  More importantly to project management, not only what those trade-offs mean but what the implications of those decisions as well as the documentation to facilitate the project decisions.  This is where building a level of expertise by the project manager on the project is important.  The project manager is the conduit of information from the team to leadership and other stakeholders.  When decisions are made it is the project manager’s responsibility to facilitate that decision and provide the detailed information on the decision.  The trade-off analysis encapsulated that process into a documented format that was repeatable and scalable.

Project Management is a skillful balance between managing tasks and leading change.  It is an exciting career field with multiple opportunities and this course helped solidify the grasp of project management within my future career path.

References

Badiru, A., (2012). Half-life learning curves in the defense acquisitions of life cycle. Defense ARJ. 19. 3.  Retriever from: http://www.dau.mil/pubscats/PubsCats/AR%20Journal/arj64/Badiru_ARJ63.pdf

Cooper, D. F., Grey, S., Raymond, G., & Walker, P. (2005). Project risk management guidelines, managing risk in large projects and complex procurements. John Wiley & Sons

Magal, S. R., & Word, J. (2011). Integrated business processes with erp systems. RRD/Jefferson City: Wiley.

Monk, E., & Wagner, B. (2009). Concepts in enterprise resource planning. (3 ed.). Boston, MA: Course Technology Cengage Learning.

Prencipe, A., Davies, A., & Hobday, M. (2007). The business of systems integration. Oxford University Press, USA.

Project Management Institute, P. M. (2008). A guide to the project management body of knowledge. (4th ed.). Newtown Square: Project Management Inst.

Stewart, R. (1995). Cost estimator\’s reference manual. (2nd ed.). Wiley.

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