Self-Improvement: Looking for your Blind Spots

Words Displays Improve by Change Adapt and GrowHave you finished your goal-setting for 2015?

How did you do it?

Apart from external feedback, it can be hard to assess where you need to focus because of your own blind spots.

An external gauge to assess reality will help you flag areas you should work on. For PMs, a good place to start might be the PMBOK, with its framework of best practices in project management.

We all have favorite processes or tasks that are easier than others – the trick is finding out where you are unconsciously avoiding or minimizing your time on certain best practices.  If we think of the PMBOK as a large house, we may be able to find our blind spots.  Likening the PMBOK’s Knowledge Areas to areas of a house (like upstairs or downstairs) and Process Groups as rooms, when you run a project, what rooms or areas of the house do you hang out in the most?

To find that answer, you might try the following:

  1. Take your Fifth Edition PMBOK and photocopy Table 3-1 – Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping (It should be on page 61).
  2. Mentally walk through your approach to managing your projects, looking at each of the cells in the table.
  3. As you touch on a Process Group, highlight those areas that you enjoy or focus on in your projects.You may run through every ‘room’ multiple times as you implement your project. Your process might require that you provide a deliverable for each of these process groups. But there are a few processes that draw your interest the most. If you’re honest, you may want to spend most of your time there.
  4. Step back to look at the sheet and look at your results.

Project Management

Identifying the areas or process groups you tend to spend most of your time may help you identify:

Areas of Growth
When you examine the sheet, look for the non-highlighted areas and ask yourself a few questions.

  1. Do you spend any time at all in these areas?
  2. Do you avoid them because you don’t feel as strong in them?
  3. Ask yourself why you don’t have it highlighted. It may be a good place to start to identify potential areas to improve on.

Areas where you may be be overusing your strengths
Now look at the process group cells that you’ve highlighted.

  1. Are there any patterns?
  2. Are the cells grouped in certain knowledge areas?
  3. Do you see places where you may be spending too much time and neglecting others?

Now don’t take this suggestion and lose sight of the forest for the trees – if your organization has divided roles & responsibilities so that some teams manage procurement or cost and you are simply responsible for ensuring that they get done – consider the environment and assess whether you’re doing what you should be. If you want to get more experience in these areas, there are plenty of resources out there to read, listen to take classes about.

Try this and let me know whether this exercise is helpful in identifying places to focus on improving your effectiveness as a PM. Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.

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