AUTHOR: Daisy Wallace

This week we spoke to popular project management blogger, Tony Adams, on his road into the industry, his PMP qualification, and his thoughts for the future.

 

How did you get into project management?

“I was working in an Australian Bank and grasped an opportunity to join a project team as a Subject Matter Expert.

“After some fabulous experiences with amazing people in Asia, the Pacific and Middle East, I realised that I had a genuine passion for connecting with people, taking the lead and bringing teams and audiences together around a common purpose.”

 

What difference has the PMP certification made to your career?

“As a consultant project manager, I rely on professional credibility and presence to create opportunities. 

“One of the best ways to demonstrate that to clients and teams is through the PMP certification

“This demonstrates that I am serious about my career and aspirations, that I work within an ethical framework and have a clear commitment to ongoing professional development.

“There are millions of project managers in the market place at any one time and the PMP has definitely allowed me to stand out from the crowd. 

“It has become an integral part of my professional brand, providing gravitas, authority and allowing me to work and speak with confidence. 

“Tapping into the authority that the PMP has provided, I have been able to collaborate with people around the world - to write, speak, mentor, and practise in different countries and companies that I never dreamed possible - it was definitely a game changing decision.”

 

Do you work to one methodology and if so which one and why?

“There is no one methodology that fits for all situations, the best results come where we understand our environment and use a blend of practises and processes. 

“I often find on larger programs that conservative approaches to governance and funding at a portfolio level require a classic waterfall type approach, whilst delivery teams are using agile like techniques to meet the demands that they innovate and get to market quickly. 

“In that sort of complex environment, one methodology does not fit and so we may well blend agile/rapid delivery approaches to software development, with a rolled up Waterfall approach to funding and reporting.

“My advice is to not get tied into thinking that we must adhere to one methodology - it may well be necessary to pick the best parts of two or more and blend them into your own model.”

 

When have you seen a project end successfully and why?

“My favorite success story involved a program of technical work that addressed a commercially sensitive regulatory breach for a large company. 

“Whilst we built a great technical solution that solved the root problem, the real success came from engaging closely with the client along the journey and helping them manage their all important communications to the market place, media and regulators. 

“We understood that the mark of success was not the technical product, but whether the client could leverage our delivery and in turn, speak with confidence to the market and resolve the critical commercial risks around reputation and market price. 

“So we invested time and effort from the outset in managing the change impacts, working with the client to engage them in a real, collaborative partnership based on open, frank and accessible communication.”

 

What three key lessons have you learnt throughout your career?

"Firstly, that communication is at the heart of project management.

“We can master the technical aspects, but enduring success comes when we connect with our clients, taking the time and effort to understand them and lead them on a change journey.

“Secondly, project management has the power to change peoples' lives

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of the work we do. 

“We save lives, we build great things, we change the way people live and work. 

“It is a noble and enriching profession and remains central to the ability of organisations to deliver change.

“And lastly, project management works best when we blend technology and business together.

“Don't treat technology delivery as the end game, but rather as the enabler for transformational business outcomes. 

“For every IT solution, think about how it impacts the business and trace that through to a benefit outcome.

 

  • “Does it allow new products to be launched?
  • “Does it create a competitive market advantage?
  • “Does it remove a risk trigger that may have a cost or reputation impact?
  • “Does it streamline processes and free up funding for other, more productive investment?”

 

In your opinion what do you perceive the project management landscape to look like in the future?

“I'm a believer in the idea that we are moving into an era of social project management.

“By that, I mean that social media has changed the way that we engage with our customers, teams and stakeholders. 

“Not only does it open up new ways of doing business, but it also challenges us to reassess the way we engage with our teams and customers and importantly, the way we measure our success.

“Faced with the ability to connect with our customers instantly and personally, to pull our teams together from around the world and collaborate, our stakeholders are changing their expectations. 

“Our stakeholders are increasingly becoming immersed in the new paradigm which is giving rise to new drivers:

 

  • “How well do we engage?
  • “How responsive are we to changing demands and priorities?
  • “How well do we manage expectations?
  • “How effectively do we create that critical emotional connection?

 

“Our stakeholders expect us to engage differently, to deliver creatively, to lead innovation and to deliver early, tangible benefits, so project management is being forced to adapt, to remain relevant.

“To me, this is a part of a growing realisation that project managers need to respond by looking beyond the traditional triple constraint - scope, cost and time - and embrace the challenge of benchmarking our delivery success against stakeholder engagement and communication outcomes.

“I can see project management moving quickly towards a framework that blends the foundation principles - scope, time, cost - with early, collaborative customer/stakeholder engagement, and places a more prominent focus on setting success criteria for stakeholder management and communication.”

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