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Project Management Spotlight in the Finance Industry

by Todd Pettibone, PMP

(reprinted with permission)

new years day

Project management in my area of Finance can be bucketed into three categories: technology, product development, and process or service design.

As the Director of Project Management, I typically work on technology development projects, however, I specialize in process and service design.   In traditionally managed projects, I am involved in all phases of the project life cycle.  In more progressively managed projects, my involvement is focused on business value and outcomes.  We have geographically distributed teams, so we use a full set of technological tools, including telephony, video, virtual as well as face to face interactions. I enjoy the challenge of teaching and mentoring my peers and project stakeholders in the fantastic variety of ways that project objectives can be achieved.

A valuable lesson I learned is that humility and self-effacing humor, as well as brutal insight and self-owned accountability, are the greatest contributors to how others view your ethics and values.  Several years ago, while I was providing a project update to the steering committee, the conversation was candid and tense with respect to anticipated versus actual progress.  As folks in the conversation were searching for excuses and opportunities to hold others responsible; it was my stance, and projection of accountability, that put the conversation to rest.  During the conversation, I made a fortunate and timely slip of the tongue.  While describing some edge cases, I intended to describe them as “exotic”; however, that is not how it came out. This led to much laughter and good nature ribbing about how “sexy” project management is.

My advice to Project Managers in this industry is to consider our changing technologies. In the future, businesses will value project entrepreneurship over the traditional processes, discipline, and consistency of delivery which will become the purview of project administrators. Project managers should aspire to evolve with the digital age and transform their skills and competencies into new roles that have not yet been conceived.

Finally, the advice I would have given myself five years ago, to be more successful today, is that principles are more valuable and important than process.