pProject managers have all been schooled in the importance of stake- holder management, but there’s one key person they may not be accus- tomedtoaddressing: themselves. Everyonelikestothinktheirstellar work speaks for itself, but that’s simply not the case in today’s cutthroat
Project managers can build their reputation “by driving projects and applying
best practices, demonstrating that these are
helping to succeed in terms of finishing on
time or earlier, and achieving the expected
results for the stakeholders,” says Jean-Claude Dravet, PMP, a project management consultant based in La Colle sur
“Of course, this is not enough,” he
Simply put, to stand out from the
pack, you must create and market your
personal brand. Companies have been
doing it for decades. And although
there’s no need to create your own logo
and big-budget ad blitz, it might not
hurt to put some effort in crafting and
honing your image as a project manager.
Just as Apple has become synonymous
with cutting-edge innovation and
adaptability, a project manager can
build a brand around anything from
sustainability to scheduling.
“This is a good way to demonstrate
knowledge, ability and also to be identified
as a project manager people want to work
with,” Mr. Dravet says.
the missing link
It’s not just about your own brand.
Project managers sometimes have to
market the profession itself.
“You need to help the stakeholders
understand that project management
is a needed tool,” says R. Camper
Bull, PMP, Armiger International,
Madison, New Jersey, USA.
One way to do that is to identify
the goals of a company from the vantage point of the boardroom.
“My favorite question to ask
companies is, ‘What is the arm that
executes your vision?’” says Mr. Bull.
“And they look around like they’re
Maybe they are.
And it may be up to you to make
that pitch for project management.
IF THE BRAND FITS...
Every project manager has his or her own
way of applying best practices, and by
embracing your own style and talents,
your brand will emerge. Don’t force it. If
you’re more like Microsoft, don’t try to
position yourself as the next Google.
“You have to be authentic to who you
are,” says Bob McGannon, PMP, director
of Mindavation, a project management
training and consulting company in
“We’re all different. Believe in your
own integrity and live with integrity as to
who you are and what you think, and sup-
port others in doing the same thing,” he
says. “If you’re conservative and quiet and
have a tendency to ponder things and
work in a more introverted way, that’s
what you should do. Help people under-
stand that’s who you are. If you’re more
boisterous and extroverted, you should be
that as well.”
Jill Steffey, PMP, has built her brand
around her communication skills, playing
off her strengths as a mediator in team
“They call me the ‘Project Supernanny,’” says Ms. Steffey, business systems
analyst for the Office of Alumni Relations
and Development at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA.
“I’m part of the old guard. I’m a little
bit older than some of the other people on
the teams who now only communicate by
instant messaging and e-mail and don’t
want to spend any time with each other,”
she says. “I will call people on the phone
and have an actual conversation.”
Her self-described neutral role as
“Switzerland” has fostered important rela-
tionships and helped advance her career.
“People come to me all the time. They
want me to fix all their problems. I have
this sort of counseling thing,” Ms. Steffey
says. “People trust me and they feel like if
they have an issue they can talk to me
about it and get it worked out, without
having it exposed to the entire project
team or going to their own boss and feeling like the lightning rod of blame.”
SELL, SELL, SELL
With brand identity forged, project managers now must market that image. Yet if
the whole idea of talking about yourself
and your accomplishments makes you
cringe, you’re not alone.
“I’m actually very uncomfortable with
self-promotion,” says R. Camper Bull,
PMP, managing director, Armiger International, a consulting firm in Madison,