Project Management

Posted by Analyse at 6:18 PM

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Evolution in a workplace is a continual process which slowly but surely changes company culture and traditions in a given entity. Current technical and economic pressures drive industries to an increasingly competitive environment which pushes them to restructure and reorganize their work methods to increase productivity.

Downsizing is a famous product of this evolution. The challenge is then to manage existing workload with less people. Competence development within an organization has been industries’ response to attaining this goal – multi-skilling in a high performance workplace. Functional flexibility has somewhat became the standard.

My 2-day training in Paris two weeks ago was in fact an introduction to the ins and outs of project management.

Project management, as described in the Free Management Library is a carefully planned and organized effort to accomplish a specific (and usually) one-time effort, for example, construct a building or implement a new computer system. Project management includes developing a project plan, which includes defining project goals and objectives, specifying tasks or how goals will be achieved, what resources are needed, and associating budgets and timelines for completion. It also includes implementing the project plan, along with careful controls to stay on the "critical path", that is, to ensure the plan is being managed according to plan. Project management usually follows major phases (with various titles for these phases), including feasibility study, project planning, implementation, evaluation and support/maintenance.

Aside from my normal tasks, the big bosses had this brilliant idea of naming me as a Project Manager (PM) to validate a new machine loaded with new technology from a new supplier – without the salary increase, bien sûr - and before I had the training. At first, I didn’t really give it a budge. I will have a dual role on this subject, as a technical resource and a PM. Easy. I started working on the process conception taking into account the complexity of the new machine - thinking I would restart working on the subject once the machine is installed (I was still thinking like a technical resource and not at all as a PM). Wrong.

Now, aside from my usual monthly report,
- I have to do a specific report on this subject too.
- I have to attend to a lot of meetings – talking about Civil and Electrical Engineering (building conception phase) but never Chemical Engineering which is my line – and worst, write the meeting minutes at the end of the session.
- I have to take major decisions impacting quality, cost and delay – or negotiate everything with the big bosses – and take every blow imaginable.
- I have to monitor that we don’t exceed the 1M€ mark.
- I have to kick butts to get information from different actors of the project.
- and lastly, I have to work for myself because, not to forget, I’m a technical resource on this project too.

This new task is draining the whole of me. I’m a newbie and I’ve always been conscientious on whatever I do. Frenchguy’s out for business travel for 2 long weeks now and handling an active toddler after a long day of work is sometimes more difficult than talking technical matters with experienced men (*$¤#! Just wondering what these big bosses had in mind when they named a Filipina Mom to handle the job? – I mean, I’m the only girl in the team! And a foreigner at that!).

Next week, I will be somewhere around Germany with a supplier followed by Italy before the end of the month - again with a supplier. Then probably, just probably, to Thailand mid-November.

Now, how in the world would my immediate boss think that I’m not loaded? I can’t even blog, lol.


Plain_Jane_Too said...

Hi Ana,

Being a great PM requires great people skills and most of the time it is like herding cats.

It seems that you do have the requisite people skills (+technical) so am sure you'll do great. Good luck!

In my previous life, I was a PM and did get my PMP. The PMI ( the de facto certification granting org recognized world-wide. They also have a great resource online.

Anonymous said...

Well, looks like you will do a lot of traveling.. Germany and Italy are great place to visit. I believe your boss have faith in you that's why you are chosen! Goodluck!

Anonymous said...

Ana, there is also the early retirement scheme which is a little discouraging for some since one has to retire early from work to give way to newer, younger and fresher minds.

Too much to do, how do you balance everything?

Take care and hugs to your bebe. :)

auee said...

They were so impressed with your multi-tasking ability in overseas projects, they gave you another one but this time with the actual "title" to go with it.

Consider yourself lucky that the company sent you to a mgt training course. :-)
Others will just throw you in the deep end -- ok they did that to you initially hehe

Francine Ann said...

ANA, if you need a secretary don't hesitate to call very much free lolz

Anonymous said...

They know you can do it kaya sa yo ibinigay ang position. Goodluck!

Anonymous said...

Plain Jane Too, and what about stress management? ;)

Agring, the business trips withing Europe are mostly 1-2 day trip.. and most of the time, there's no time to visit.. and most of the time, I'm the only girl in the team or I'm alone.. so kakatamad mamasyal :(

Julie, time management, i think i start to be an expert.. esp that frenchguy's travelling too.. and we have our dear louna to tend to..

Auee, sana hindi lang title, salary increase na din hehehe..

Francine, haha, sana lang no.

Ann, what can i say? i cant really complain..

Anonymous said...

Another hectic schedule! Bon courage Ana, that's life of a real working MOM ;)! Take care !

Anonymous said...

it's simple why they gave you the post, french people wont accept a higher post, with more responsibilities at that and without increase hmmm sounds fishy..being the only foreigner in your team more as a female employee that you are, you are least "Menaçant".....

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I'm planning to quit my job is because I'm tired of everything involved in being a PM in my industry! When the commensurate pay isn't there to make up for the stress, it's easy to get fed up. So - go for that raise!!!

Anonymous said...

Haze, thanks. Hay naku, starting to get busy na naman, you know, end of the year is always hectic, I’m having a hard time na naman to fix everything in my calendar.

Anonymous, as I said, multi-skilling is a strategy taken by our company and everybody’s heading for that direction. I had the post probably because I have more experience than my colleagues in that particular job. No, there’s nothing fishy in there. It would sound bizarre but Frenchies around me complain more about the content of their job/scope of responsibility rather than what they get at the end of the month. I don’t think we’re in the right position to complain about salary/advantages because I think we’re quite well-paid in our sector of activity, we’re not world leader for nothing lol.

I probably sounded rant-y in this post, but in fact, I was actually bragging. Lol.

Triviabuff, hey! Lol, patience dear. In my case, there’s only one person who ruins my day in the team, otherwise, everything’s ok. Errr, I’ll wait till I get the machine.. the technical challenge is another thing. The raise? I’m just waiting for my annual interview, if last year, I was on maternity leave half of the time, and still I got the raise, I don’t see any reason this year why I won’t get another one hahaha.. as I said, I can’t really complain about salary.