Every project management professional started out as a rookie. They didn’t know the ropes early on and they probably didn’t always follow the most efficient path to get things done. They undoubtedly made mistakes along the way, some of them costly but most of them minor.
While the success that comes with time and expertise is a hard-won achievement, rookies still bring valuable perspective to the project office. Experienced PMP®s can gain useful insight by looking at the project management sphere through the eyes of a rookie.
1 – Innovation is key. Rookies, because they aren’t yet entrenched in one hard-and-fast way of doing things, are fantastic innovators. They’re much more open to new ideas and every possible solution is open for consideration when it comes to solving problems. Don’t let yourself become institutionalized. Instead, always continue to seek out better, more efficient methods for tackling old problems.
2 –Never stop learning. Many professionals go through a phase where they don’t see much around them that’s new. They have developed strategies for overcoming common obstacles and they know how to shepherd difficult stakeholders through the planning and execution process. Rookies, on the other hand, are naturally eager to learn. Veteran PMP®s should take their cue and continue to embrace the value of learning—there are always new skills, new techniques, and new solutions that can improve results.
3 – It’s okay to ask for help. When a rookie encounters a situation outside their expertise, they request assistance from someone more experienced. Long-time PMP®s are sometimes reluctant to turn to others for advice, but knowledge transfer should always be a priority. No matter how senior you are in your Project Team, never hesitate to ask for help. Who knows, that rookie may have some great ideas to move the team forward.
4 – High energy levels contribute to project success. One refreshing thing about rookies is the sheer energy and level of enthusiasm they bring to an endeavor. While that kind of intensity has a natural cycle of ups and downs, PMP®s should focus on maintaining their vigor in order to achieve the best results. Everything from stakeholder engagement to difficult schedules can be helped along by applying some energy and eagerness.
5 – The fundamentals never stop being important. Without a lot of on-the-job experience to fall back on, rookies are great at sticking to the foundational elements of good project management methodologies. It’s a lesson even seasoned PMP®s should take to heart, as repeatable success will always depend on sound fundamentals. If your team is having trouble executing a difficult project, consider where habits or organizational pressures may have pushed you away from the core competencies of project management.
6 – Mistakes happen. Failures may be small, going unnoticed by stakeholders, or large and highly visible. Though it’s considered more acceptable for rookies to make mistakes, experienced PMP®s should see through the disappointment of failure and embrace the opportunity it presents. What can you do better next time? How can you and the team improve? Take the rookie route and stop letting your fear of failure prevent you from stretching toward greater success.
7 – Sometimes silence really is golden. Rookies are good at listening. They focus on soaking up new knowledge and taking in the information around them. Conversely, seasoned PMP®s do a lot of talking as they share their wisdom with junior members. Every now and then, these mentors should stop talking and start listening. They may discover areas where the team could become more efficient, identify the early signs of emerging morale issues, or learn how to better engage with reluctant end users.