Starting the New Year with a few new PM goals

by Sylvie Edwards

It’s hard to believe that we started yet another year and, with it, another countdown to the next. Year after year, if you look at it, an indefinite loop or another big countdown. A whole new 365 days of work until we start all over again, give or take some nuances and differences that make it worth repeating in most cases. As a Project Manager, there are some Project Management goals worth looking at to help deal with our constantly evolving business environment. Changing work environments necessitates adjusting to change as it happens by reassessing how we work and potentially migrating work in order to meet PM goals and thrive.

Changing environments

It is not hard to see how the start of a new year brings us to a moment of reflection and contemplation as to where we’ve been and where we hope to head towards. The last two years, let’s face it, were very trying and have left us wanting for some sense of normalcy during changing environments, which again, with the start of a new year, seems to be eluding us. Most Project Managers that I have been talking to are grateful to still be working but long for some less perturbance in how they run their projects. Quite a few have made some moves to either better roles or to simply challenge themselves further.

Migrating work

Part of migrating work (known from the media as the great resignation) involved also taking a pause or ascertaining if a project leader role would be in their future for the next stage. Early retirement or simply retirement was a consideration for some others, leaving our profession with a few more gaps to fill than we started with. One other point to consider, which led to more depletion of PM ranks, is the countless friends and acquaintances that have battled and lost their fight for health during this period.

How we work

A large contributor to change during this time is how we work and new remote or distance working arrangements. We did have several organizations at the beginning of that process, but it was not as extended as it has now become. It is not given to everyone to thrive under these circumstances. For Project Managers who are used to physically facing a team and huddling down to make decisions, technology, though quite the savior for many, still did not manage to engage stakeholders enough or at the right level.

Some projects were dropped altogether as there was no need for them any longer, while others were downsized or postponed outright. For most organizations, their needs have switched or pivoted overnight. We started thinking more about automation and about online accessible platforms for almost every aspect of our daily lives. This still requires the use of project management practices which is what makes use still quite the desirable individuals to keep around.

Reassessing how work gets done

When we look back, years from now, innovation in a lot of areas due to necessity and survival is clear and noticeable. If you stayed put, adjusting to your evolving environment, chances are you took the time to reassess your overall direction and even foundation. You can see this reflected in the number of people taking courses and studying to get what might have been an elusive PMP® certification or another form of education or training. Services already providing these offerings online have been blooming. It just requires reassessing how work gets done and migrating work when and where necessary.

Adjusting to change in constantly changing environments

Whatever this new year has in store for any of us, I am sure that we will have to adjust to change several times before we find another comfortable spot to land. In thinking of my own resolutions this year, here are some PM goals that I think every Project Manager should keep in mind for adding to the new year’s resolutions list. Adjusting to change as it happens is necessary for survival. If you’ve already given up on previous years, maybe draft them into the upcoming list.

  • A good piece of advice to apply always: When given lemons, make lemonade. The key is to learn to love lemonade when that’s all there is to drink.
  • Make sure you look at your priorities frequently and take some time to consider how to adjust and what it means to every aspect of your life. We do have to remember that there is more to us than our working self.
  • Learn, learn, and keep on learning. One day will come when all this learning will pay off. Either that or you will end up quite wise.
  • Be open to new experiences. Don’t be so set in your way that you stay frozen in place. The new world for PMs is that of being not a specialist but a more flexible generalist. This needs to be embraced.
  • Take care of your “self,” and the rest will come.

Here’s to hoping we all come out wiser from these months of constant change and, yes, further pivoting. I personally have had just about enough of that word or of the “new normal” when it just all seems very not normal at all. One thing that is certain is that we have gathered a lot of lessons learned we wish we would not have to keep using over and over with every new wave of change. These make us stronger and contribute to our resilience. Grin and bear it is really the new motto to adopt.


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