Between this blog and my newsletter, my last few items have all revolved around project management. I thought I’d continue, today, with some reminiscing on the topic.
Back when I got my first project management job at a LIMS software vendor as a LIMS project manager/systems analyst, project management was still a fledgling concept in laboratory informatics. While there were a few PMs (project managers) out there, they weren’t that common in our industry. At the time, as a younger person with lots of energy and enthusiasm, and with project management coursework fresh under my belt, not only did I see the great importance of the topic to our industry, but was dead-sure I’d make a great success in my career applying it to my projects. Additionally, I was convinced I’d succeed in turning the project management portion of my job into a full-time role. I was totally wrong about that, as I discovered when our group got a new boss who didn’t believe in project management.
Convincing people in our industry that project management was something to be taken seriously was an uphill battle for those of us who took it on. While project management, itself, was finally making ground as a serious topic, it was not making much progress in our industry. And when the day came for me to leave that job, I was discouraged to find that there was not a single other software vendor with whom I spoke to about getting a job who was remotely interested in the topic. I was further discouraged over the years as our industry’s vendors continued to say things like, “We don’t believe in project management. Our system is so easy to implement, it doesn’t need anything like that.”
But today, we’ve made quite a bit of progress. While some software vendors have truly only come on-board having been forced by their customers into using project management, or in going along with allowing their customers to manage their project that way, and while there are still some that don’t really know what a project manager is supposed to do and who use that title to charge more for their people, there are also those that have come to understand its importance in project success.
Back as a fledgling project manager, the best thing I convinced my company to do for me was to pay for my membership in PMI (Project Management Institute). It’s an international organization and the best resource around for those with an interest in project management. Their local meetings that I’d attended were excellent. Additionally, I was able to get my company to send me to the PMI national conference, one year, and it was probably the best and largest single-topic conference I’ve been to. For anyone serious in pursuing a project management career, this is the organization to join.