Bug on the Windshield: or How I Spent My Week

Chicago Theatre
Originally uploaded by kevindooley

This week was unusually busy. Nearly every day had me trekking outside of my house to a ‘useful’ event: improving my interview skills, networking, spending time with people not looking for jobs, or at job hunt workshops.

At one point near the end of the week, I spent the evening getting hopelessly lost in Chicago while trying to find the venue.

The end result of the flurry of activity is that I have nothing to post except highlights that I captured along the way:

  • Advice on Career Planning
  • Advice on Thriving in the Recession
  • Advice from Savvy Project Managers on running projects

So in a quick run-through, here’s what I learned this week:

Career Planning Advice

  • Careers Don’t Just Happen – you need to put together a plan:
    At one of the Chicago Urban League’s Career Coaching Series Workshops, I learned about Career Planning: the importance of developing a career action plan, an individual development plan and your own report card of your accomplishments to document and then brag on your successes to your career stakeholders. More info on the series can be found at: http://www.thechicagourbanleague.org/
  • If you had all the qualifications for a job and still didn’t get hired, you were missing the following three things:
    1. Fit to the role
    2. Chemistry
    3. Endorsement (by someone they know or your recommendations)

    I heard this during a Power Networking presentation by Paul Duski at a Women on Work networking event. This took some of the ‘why’ out of the response or lack of response after interviews. He offers a workshop on Power Networking that would be worth attending. For more info, contact him at pduski@comcast.net.

Advice on Thriving During the Recession

  • Don’t blame everything on the recession. “It’s Not the Recession – You Just Suck” – was a great blog post on getting busy and attending to the situation at hand. Sometimes I need a kick. This helped. It’s definitely not a post for everyone.
  • Watch your conversation with yourself and others – because our conversations are where we live. This was by far the best advice I’ve gotten this week and it came from an interview discussing the book Upbeat by the author Rajesh Setty. His advice about watching my conversations made me think about my words and break my long-standing “Transition Book Moratorium” (In my previous life, I could spend $50 on books just walking into a bookstore). See the interview at: http://www.lifebeyondcode.com/2009/04/21/upbeat-video-interview

Savvy Advice from other Project Managers

  • The world of the project is Quantum not Newtonian. In other words, recognize that “reality rules” in the project and PMs need to welcome change. At PMEXPO 2009 (an on-line virtual PM Expo), there were additional excellent presentations on Decision making, Agile project management and Leadership. All presentations were recorded and will be available for playback through May 13, 2010. Check it out here.
  • Have use cases and requirements created before sending out an RFP to select a COTS (Commercial Off the Shelf) vendor. I found this so brilliant it’s almost common sense idea in the Q1 PMI ISSIG (IT Special Interest Group) newsletter. There are excellent articles on Agile and COTS Implementation Planning. Managing the risk of using a COTS application in your project is critical to delivering on time and with quality.  This is lesson I learned the hard way.  Good advice for people going into COTS Implementations.
  • The Project Manager needs to bootstrap and nurture project identity and culture. This week I read Bas deBaar’s new e-book, Project Shrink: the Linear Edition and found his explanation of the role of the project manager extremely helpful. His e-book also has good insight on how to put together the right strategy for each project. A good read.

I hope that a glimpse at this week’s “Highlights” was useful. This week went by too fast to do more than catch the highlights. Next week I’ll be back with a post. Leave a comment or send me a tweet. My id is jgodfrey.


1 Comment

  1. Joelle, Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to pull this together. I will use it in my travels by referring people to your site.

    Gary Monti, PMP

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