Getting Your Project Noticed

As PMs we are often a step or two outside of the limelight. And that’s ok because we usually didn’t get into this profession to be the center of attention…even though we must be the “take charge” person no matter what.

Some project managers prefer to muddle along in near obscurity. Don’t raise flags, don’t kick up dust, don’t draw attention to your project. That’s fine if:

  • Your career aspirations stop where you are right now ..or
  • Your project is one of many and you’re already overloaded and not looking for more spotlight ..or
  • You know absolutely for certain you are not going to need any assistance or obstacles removed by senior management during the course of the engagement.

The only real acceptable answer is the 2nd one because if it’s the first one you shouldn’t be managing projects and if it’s the 3rd one you obviously haven’t managed enough projects to be aware of how they play out.

So let’s consider the notion of getting your project noticed – both to help you and to help your project. First off, why?... And for me, it comes down to two key reasons:

  1. Getting executive management involved. Getting senior management aware of the project so they are onboard and can help me get what I need and knock down obstacles when necessary may end up being critical to the success of my project. I’m not one to usually ‘suck up’ to management, but when it comes to ensuring my project’s success, all bets are off.
  2. Getting your customer noticed in your organization. If the customer sees that their project is visible in your organization and senior management has some involvement, they’ll likely feel more important and will start out satisfied and confident. You won’t be starting out behind the eight ball with your customer right after kickoff. Trust me, this works.

Now let’s look at how we might go about getting your project noticed or at least increasing it’s visibility…

So, we know why we want the buzz…how do we make it happen? I do this in three different ways. You may want to try one of these on your project or you may want to do all three…it’s up to you. Whatever works…

  1. Get the executives involved at project kickoff. I’m usually not one to want too many participants in the kickoff meeting. I find that having too many participants in the room impedes discussion and decision-making as you’re trying to establish some hard deadlines for milestone dates and get agreements on key assumptions and assignments of responsibilities. However, I like to get someone from high up in my organization at the meeting. It speaks volumes to the customer and they know the project right from the start. Plus it doesn’t hurt me from a visibility standpoint either…they get to see me in action.
  2. Send status reports to top management. For no reason and due to no request, start sending your weekly status report and project schedule revision to your senior management. That way they’re aware of the project status and if you hit a roadblock – and if they’ve been actually looking at your reports – they’ll hopefully be first in line to help you out. I’ve used this to my advantage on a couple of projects so far so I plan to keep doing it.
  3. Invite senior leadership to the status calls and milestone meetings. Weekly status meetings can sometimes be a little mundane – especially if there are no big issues at the moment and no key milestones coming up. You can boost interest and excitement by having your CEO or other executive (depending on the size of your company) attend the meeting – whether it’s a call or a face-to-face meeting. You may need to come up with a good reason to get the CEO to attend – maybe there’s a change order that’s going to be discussed. Whatever the reason – do it and see what happens. Your customer will definitely feel the presence and it will be a positive boost for your project.

Summary

Sometimes you would think it would be best to lay low. To go about your business, successfully run your project and move on to the next one. And that may be fine for many. But if you want challenges, you want your career to advance, and you want those necessary allies in case your project hits bumps (which it probably will), then getting it noticed is a huge step in the right direction of success for your project and your career.

How about our readers? How do you feel about this? Do you try to get your project some good press in your organization? If yes, what motivates you to do so and how successful have you been?

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Brad Egeland

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