It’s Project Management Day today, so we’re reflecting as a team on what project management means to us. Helena reflects on project management in her life and career below.
Helena Burrows, but most people know me as Ellie
How many years have you worked in project management?
Around 10 years, but I haven’t necessarily had a linear career working strictly as a Project Manager throughout that time.
How did you get into project management?
I had my first taste for project management in my first job after University, in the Court Service. I’d joined at a time when budget cuts were biting hard and the service was rolling out a LEAN programme to increase efficiencies across the business. I got really involved in the improvement work that was happening and ended up running a project at another Court to streamline and improve their operations and really loved it.
I then joined a graduate scheme with a local council and actually started working for Lucy in a small team carrying out business improvement reviews. From then I spent some time working in Procurement before becoming a Change Manager.
I joined Trueman Change in April 2016 when the opportunity arose to work with Lucy again and the rest, as they say, is history!
What is your favourite type of project?
Apart from an easy one, I like a project where I can really get stuck in and help make things happen. I like working with operational teams and helping them make changes that improve they way they work and the service they offer to the public. Seeing real, tangible results is the best thing I hope for on any project.
Biggest personal lesson?
Project Management applies to every part of my life – I’ve always been a planner and the organiser. A source of personal stress for me comes when I can’t make a plan for the future, so it’s probably fitting that I’ve chosen this as a career. In terms of professionally, a project never ends when it ends; Go-live is just the start of a whole other phase and it’s so important to ensure people are prepared for that.
What has worked well work in project management for you?
This probably depends on who you speak to but I’m proud of the relationships I create. You really can’t deliver projects without people and I build trust with people well. I’m also a bit of perfectionist, so I do pride myself on the quality of my work and, if I say I’m going to do something, I do it.
What’s the most challenging thing about project management?
I think one of the most challenging things is being realistic about what can be done. One of the biggest challenges I often tackle is providing the right level of project management for customers. We’re often brought in when project management resource is scarce, some people can be daunted by the jargon and paperwork. There’s always a challenge in figuring our what your customer needs and translating that into a format and style that works for them. You’ve got to make things easy to understand and accessible whilst maintaining the level of rigour and discipline needed to get things done, which can sometimes be a delicate balancing act.
Would you recommend project management? Why?
Yes, I certainly would, because it’s fun (or at least I think so)! I think the variety in this career is second to none. Who wouldn’t want to get into a career where you can make change happen?
Some interesting thoughts for Project Management Day. Do you agree with Ellie?