Successful Project Management

If you want to start a successful career, it is very important to learn how to manage projects. Because project management will be one of the most important things for your future career. From this point, HR | experience had an interview with Dr.Tomas Bohinc, who is a senior expert in Human Resources Development within a large IT and Telecommunications company.

Tomas Bohinc, a member of PMI, will give tips for junior project managers to start a project from the beginning.

HR| experience: Hello Tomas, first of all thank you for your time and thank you for sharing your tips with HR|experience.  Today, I would like to ask you some questions about successful project management.  So, let’s begin with first important steps. How do we start to take responsibilities in a project?
Tomas Bohinc: Firstly, if you want to begin taking responsibilities in a project, you should complete basic training and have the qualification for project management. The best approach is to start as a project member in a project team. Then you can take over after one or two little projects or sub projects, which are familiar to the main subject or technology. Second approach is to start as an assistant in a project office and then to take over responsibilities of a sub project. Afterwards, you can get the responsibility of your own project.
HR| experience: What was the most important responsibility that you had taken in your whole career? What was the most challenging project?
Tomas  Bohinc: It was the implementation of strategic career systems for experts within a large IT and Telecommunications company. Designing and planning of the whole concept, tools and methods was a real challenge. On the other hand, managing this project in other 24 countries showed us the importance of the intercultural management skills.

HR| experience: How could you get the best results in this project? or How could you overcome some unexpected conflicts?
Tomas Bohinc: Like in almost every project, it is very important to be able to manage the changes of the project scope –so called scope creep. We have started with very small scope. Then, during the implementation of the scope it gets bigger and bigger. Because, we have learned more and more about the topic during the project . And the most challenging part was to manage all these changes to make a balance between the rising requirements and the resource available.

HR| experience: What are the common mistakes in project management ?
Tomas Bohinc: One of the common mistakes in project management is not having a clear project assignment and description of competence of the project manager.. Not having the right team members  for a project is also another common mistake. On the other hand, not integrating all the stakeholders into the discussions during the project will cause conflicts.

HR| experience: And project meetings. How do you manage effective meetings?

Tomas Bohinc: Project meetings are actually the platform to motivate the project team. Before the meetings there should be preparations of course. All the topics should be collected, an agenda should be created and all the project members should be invited. . At the beginning of the meeting, we generally need an introduction statement to make the target of the meeting clear.  We should also ask for the wishes and requirements of  the members. Maybe, they will have additional topics for the meeting. Then we start meeting with first topic, considering facilitation and documentation of the discussion. Here project leader can find a team member who takes over this responsibility. Even it is better to make a summary after each topic for the next minutes. At the end of the meeting each participant should also have possibility to give feedback about the results of the meeting to improve the effectiveness of meeting

HR| experience: How do the other project members become more active in project meetings?
Tomas Bohinc: This is actually the responsibility of the project leader to get them involved in the discussion. Here the project leader  have three possibilities:  He/she can ask special team members to give their opinion about specific topics and encourage them to express ideas in the discussions. The second way is to give specific team members the opportunity to present one topic or to take over the facilitation of the meeting. In this way, you will secure the personal competences of your team. For the last way, she/he can make the team members noticed with their competencies  in the team. And in the last stage he should arrange the meeting with the team members. He/she should collect their topics and get feedback from every team meetings to improve the meeting culture.

HR| experience: Here we see the important role of a project manager. Does success come with the leadership?
Tomas Bohinc: Yes, certainly. It is very important for a project manager to have leadership skills.  The first skill is to develop and motivate the project team as a whole. The second skill is to motivate each project members individually. The project leader has to assign the tasks to the team members, then control how the tasks are done. One of the important leadership skills is to  improve the competences of the team members.

HR| experience: Do you have last tips to motivate junior project managers?
Tomas Bohinc: First tip is to analyze their own competencies an interests to make sure that project management exactly the career path which fits to the own competencies. For project management it is very important to be curious about the project.  You will work independently and goal oriented in an uncertain environment. Another tip is that they should have the required qualification for the project management-not only the hard skills, but also soft skills. In addition, you should be able to learn from senior project manager. For example, what are they doing in their daily business? The best thing is to have project manager as a coach for the all processes.

Who is Tomas Bohinc?

Dr.Tomas Bohinc was born in 1953 and has been working since 1984 for Deutsche Telekom AG in different organizational units and departments. He studied physics, telecommunications engineering,  philosophy and completed a postgraduate degree in team and organizational development.
His first project was the development and implementation of a project workbook  for software development. There, he could experience that PM Book  is not enough to ensure that projects are successfully implemented. After a project manager training discovered Tomas Bohinc his interest in  Human Resources and organisation development. Today, he is still managing and developing many interesting projects.
Thanks to his praxis experience, he published four books about Project Management and career development Actively he is is writing in magazins like Wissen Heute, Projektmagazin and for his blogs. (Projektmanagment – Soft Skills für Projektleiter, Karriere machen ohne Chef zu sein, Soft Skills – Der Schlüssel für den Erfolg in der Fachkarriere, Grundlagen des Projektmanagements )


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