Practitioner Skills 2: Helping your peers

In the second article in this series, we take a look at the Project DPro Practitioner activity “Helping your peers”.  This a free election “Giving Back” activity and can be completed in a number of ways.

Perhaps the most obvious way in which we can help our peers is within the context of a formal mentoring relationship. Nevertheless, mentoring can work just as well on an informal basis. Mentoring could take place either face-to-face or online.

We suggest that before beginning to mentor someone you both agree upon the following parameters:

  • Establish the objectives of the mentoring activity
  • Set the timescale of the mentoring activity

This will help to avoid situation in which the mentoring process meanders indefinitely without an appropriate conclusion.

One suggested mentoring activity for Project DPro Practitioner candidates is to help colleagues or others in their quest to pass the Project DPro Foundation exam. Having experience of success during this process, Practitioner candidates are in the perfect position to guide and help their colleagues to achieve this aim. Guidance for passing the Project DPro Practitioner exam is also a good example of a helping or mentoring activity which need not require many hours to complete.

Just as planning is important to the mentoring process, so is bringing the activity to a conclusion. This need not be a formal review, rather an informal acknowledgement that the mentoring activity has come to a close and analysis of the benefits which it has brought to both parties.

In your quest to give back to other project management professionals, why not begin by visiting the DPro+ Mentoring Group?

In the next article, we will look at the Giving Back activity “Giving presentations”.

Benefits from taking a mentorship by Ivana Petkukjeska

In this article, Ivana Petkukjeska discusses her mentoring experience and extolls the virtues of becoming a mentee.

How it began…

During the last months of 2020, I started started considering the idea to start my own consulting business more seriously. Given my experience and knowledge in project management for NGOs, I started thinking about providing project development and writing services to anyone that has an idea for change and know-how to implement it, but no skills to convert it into an S.M.A.R.T. project proposal.

Ivana Petkukjeska

I knew the end result, but I didn’t know where to start. I knew the direction, but wasn’t sure which road I should take. So I started opening everything there is on the PMD4NGOs website, and ended up staring at the discussion board and thinking “On a scale for 1-10, how stupid it is to ask a question about how to take the baby steps?”

There was nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I dropped the question. The answer (which I didn’t even expect) led to free individual mentorship sessions with an international expert. First, I couldn’t believe that I got such a person providing individual mentorship for me. Second, even more unbelievable, all for free.

Every Tuesday through December: The benefits of the online mentorship process

While the mentorship process about my consulting business idea has already started, I slightly doubted that organizations needed this type of service. Although I never said that out loud, Edson showed me that what I want to sell, I am good at and enjoy doing is something that others are willing to pay for, might be bad at or even hate it. This was quite unexpected information for me. I falsely assumed that every project manager knows how and is willing to write projects. I was wrong on this very rare occasion when I assumed without even asking.

It wasn’t just about the need for project writing services I got new insights for. I also got very clear understanding where I should begin, the best approach to promote services, new insights about the market and its demands, potential pool of clients, and guidance for pricing methods.  All of this information was provided in a concrete, easy to follow action steps.

Moreover, Edson didn’t only help me see possibilities; he opened doors for me by creating relevant international connections!

There were a lot of other questions that were arising as a result of the conversation or between mentorship sessions, while I was working on a particular task/guidance I was provided. After each session, everything became clearer. The fear to start on my own diminished and the motivation rised.

3 take aways for future mentees

  • Utilize an opportunity to get a mentorship from someone more experienced.
  • Before it starts, get clear about what you want to ask/need information or guidance for (at least the first 3 questions, the rest will pop-up as the discussion progresses)
  • Be open to listen and put the suggested next steps on a to-do list that you plan to execute really soon

Mini bio

My name is Ivana Petkukjeska from N.Macedonia, currently based in Slovenia.

For the last 13 years my work is mostly focused on writing and implementing projects. I’ve worked with over 50 clients based worldwide, mostly NGOs, for which I’ve secured funding from governments, ministries, municipalities, EU funds, embassies, companies (CSR programmes), and other international foundations and agencies etc.

I hold Project Management for Development Professionals certificate and an MA degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.

Currently, I am in the process of establishing my own consulting company with a mission to connect those with an idea and those who give money for ideas. I will do that by supporting my clients in the process of re-shaping, developing, and writing their ideas as a meaningful, sustainable, manageable, feasible, and impactful project that makes a change (and sense).

How to write a Personal Development Plan

Ask yourself two questions: What will you be doing at work this time next year? What do you want to be doing at work this time next year? There is probably a difference!

As a good project manager, you will know the importance of planning projects, so why not sit down write a plan for yourself – a personal development plan – to help achieve your personal and professional aspirations.

Your plan should be in four sections:

1.Where are you now?

You should start by considering what are you good at and what you need to work on. Check out the Competency Assessment questionnaire on PMD Pro+. This will give you a good idea of where you are now and what to concentrate on in your development. Pick some competencies that you want to work on this year.

2. Where do you want to be?

You should establish some personal goals. However, do be realistic about your capabilities. Challenge yourself but don’t try to do the impossible. Set short, medium and long-term objectives, no more than 4 or 5.

3. How will you get there?

Produce a plan to achieve your objectives – a Gantt chart will do fine, with a line for each objective. Your plan will include activities and training but be realistic and don’t try to do too much. For each objective you should have success criteria just as you would with a project. Involve your line-manager and work colleagues – they may be able to help and you may be able to help them! Choose some of the PMD Pro+ mini-courses which are designed round competencies. Join one of the PMD Pro+ forums and ask questions. It is probable that other professionals like you have already “been there, done that” and can offer advice. Also look out for Webinars on PMD Pro+.

4. How well did you do?

At regular intervals (perhaps quarterly) assess your progress against the plan and success criteria. Adjust and modify it as required. Also, your goals may change according to circumstance so your plan must be seen as a “living document”.

So, start writing your plan today and implement it!

Peter Marlow