Any theory or model only possesses the capability of arming the personals with the relevant knowledge. However, the practical significance of that knowledge depends on the way that theory is applied in the real life scenarios. In the advance project management project, the amount of learning and knowledge gain has been enormous. This essay tends to find out the practical implications of the knowledge and team work experience. This essay is divided into four parts. The first part relates to the comparison of my strengths and weaknesses before and after the course completion. The second part describes the proposed challenges that can be faced by me in the near future. The third and fourth parts cover the topics of strengths utilization and weaknesses mitigation respectively.
For the purpose of writing this essay, only those strengths and weaknesses are mentioned that are relatable to the degree and the future job or prospects. Before the course initiation, I believed in the traditional and conventional wisdom for spotting strengths and weaknesses. I relied solely on my past interactions and knowledge to gauge these two factors. However, as I gradually progressed in the course, I realized that the strengths and weaknesses identification process was more than that. Before the course initiation, my presumed strengths and weaknesses, as measured by me, are shown in the following table:
Figure 1: Strengths and Weaknesses
During the team interactions and class sessions, I gained immense knowledge that helped me update my strengths and forgo my weaknesses. I realized that some aspects of team, as reinforcement (peer feedback) are very crucial for correcting oneself. Therefore, I made suggestions to include a periodic mandatory feedback session. This step not only allowed all team members to collaborate well, but it also provoked efficient distribution of roles and responsibilities. I also learned through the learning process that my certain strengths are required to be projected in a different manner. For example, I always focused on taking up the team work that I thought was suitable for me. By carefully studying Kolb’s learning cycle, I introspected that I am a ‘reflector’ by nature and I also possess a very minute trait of pragmatist (Vince, 1998). This reality showed that I should concentrate on feedback, coaching and field work in order to develop my technical skill. This allowed to counter the ‘disregard feedback’ weakness (Smith & Higgins, 2006). In order to evade from mismanagement of time, I took the step of changing by beliefs and attitude to change by behaviour by applying the pattern breaking technique learned in the class (Dweck & Leggett, 1988). Currently, I save 4 hours every day just by changing my attitude towards ‘less important matters’ like TV and movies. In order to avoid the mindset of authoritative mentality, I practically applied Kubler Ross model in a team environment. Fortunately, it took me just 3 team meetings to learn bargaining and consequently the acceptance of other’s ideas was relatively easy for me (Harsanyi, 1956). The team development process was also a useful addition to my knowledge set. The following table shows the major relevant changes in my strengths and weaknesses during the span of the course:
Figure 2: Change in Strengths and Weaknesses
The overall experience of working in the team was phenomenal. The environment of team was professional and all of the team members were accommodative to the suggestions and ideas. There was an element of synergy in the team efforts and role distribution was adequate and justified.
As a future project manager, I fancy that there are three following key challenges I can face.
Figure 3: Major Challenges
Firstly, I had realized that I gained immense skills of team work during the course. Project manager is widely regarded both as a manager and a leader. I did not experience any role that pertain to leadership and team management and neither do I had been through that kind of role in a team setting. Therefore, managing a team of project members will be a huge challenge for me. Secondly, the application of knowledge on myself was relatively easy. However, a project manager is expected to apply these models in the real world scenarios to manage the projects effectively. I changed myself to a large extent but will I be able to transform my subordinates and colleagues in the real world are a big question and challenge for me. Thirdly, as a project manager, I can face situations where there are team and group conflicts. The resolution of these conflicts will also be a big trial for me.
From my practical knowledge, I can safely assume that the biggest cause of any project failure includes the element of lack of proper planning and visioning. Even many big projects can suffer at the fate of ambiguous objectives and goals. The Scotland Parliament construction project is a very suitable example of this statement. Moreover, for the projects that contain an output at a future date, the failure to transform the overall time spans into measurable short term goals causes the project to fail ultimately. Additionally, the wrong estimation of certain cost drivers can raise the cost of the project, and in certain circumstances, can cause it to fail. Moreover, from the perspective of a project manager, I propose that the biggest cause of project failure is the absence of proper procurement planning. Also, for certain projects, the intrusion of third parties is also deemed detrimental for projects. Above all, the deficiency on the part of proper and adequate budget also causes the project to fail eventually.
The following figure shows a dynamic framework for overcoming challenges.
I will use my strong interpersonal communications skills to effectively communicate the project goals and objectives. Moreover, the course also taught me how to break the pattern by employing a behavioral change. I will set myself as an example to influence effective time management for the project. For the transformation of knowledge, I will rely on two of my core strengths, rich knowledge base (about project management) and effective communication. I can carry on informal coaching sessions for the less informed participants of the project. Moreover, on the job assistance will also help overcome the challenge. I will overcome on the job assistance fear by capitalizing on one of my core strengths, effective team members. Even though I will be a project manager, I will still be the integral part of the team. Group conflicts can be overshadowed by utilizing the knowledge of team formation and trait identification. I will tend to form teams in which all traits of individuals are balanced. Above all, for forced distribution of members in a team, I will utilize my knowledge of positive and negative reinforcements to lessen the group or team conflicts.
The mitigation of my core weaknesses on the project will be quite similar to what I had done during the span of the course. As a matter of fact, I mitigated virtually all of my weaknesses, but, the fact that they can emerge in the near future cannot totally be denied. However, my experience of the weaknesses’ mitigation during the course will help me speed up the pace in the real life projects. Personally, I presume that, on the real life projects, I will be more effective in overthrowing the listed weaknesses because of the professional environment and settings. However, deposing the authoritative mentality will be a great challenge for me as it will depend on some outside factors. In this scenario, I will try to put maximum effort in changing my mindset and realizing that, in certain circumstances, one has to work under sopme ‘experienced’ command of chain. Therefore, this reframing effect will surely help me overcome the weakness. This mentality of acceptance will render a huge change not only in my weaknesses but also my behaviour. Effective time management can be attained by following a strict routine that only incorporates crucial and important components of my practical life. My future position of a project manager demands proportionate reliance of feedback and suggestions. By changing the way I think, I can create a way to incorporate suggestions and feedback in my dealings. This will also allow me to correct myself.
The entire advanced project management module has provided me with adequate knowledge and expertise for my practical life. During the length of the course, I not only updated my knowledge but also practiced some of the suggestions and take away points. This practice as allowed me to correct myself and initiate a change in the close environment (my team). However, I do realize that the road to perfection lays a long way down the lane. Therefore, I will carry on incorporating the key improvements in my life style for a long time. Certainly, these changes are of great importance for me in my practical life role of a project manager. Moreover, the team environment learning’s were also crucial for me as it helped me initiate a change in my mentality and knowledge.
Dweck, C. S. & Leggett, E. L., 1988. A Social-cognitive Approach to Motivation and Personality. Psychological Review,
95(2), p. 256.
Harsanyi, J. C., 1956. Approaches to the Bargaining Problem before and After the Theory Of Games: A Critical Discussion of Zeuthen's, Hicks', And Nash's Theories. Econometrica,
24(2), pp. 144-157.
Smith, H. & Higgins, S., 2006. Opening Classroom Interaction: The Importance of Feedback. Cambridge Journal of Education,
36(4), pp. 485-502.
Vince, R., 1998. Behind and Beyond Kolb's Learning Cycle. Journal of Management Education,
22(3), pp. 3014-319.