Congratulations, You Have Been Promoted to Project Manager
In the last twelve months, how many hours did you and your team spend on projects that were never completed? Do any of these sound familiar to you?
“We have decided to go in a different direction on this project.”
“Thank you for your hard work on this, but it doesn't quite match my vision.”
“We really need to get more stakeholder buy-in before we can proceed.”
“I really need you to drop what you are working on and help with this other project.”
“We don’t have enough money in the budget for this.”
“Let’s push this to next year.”
Whatever the reason might have been, the hours you spent on those abandoned projects are
now lost forever. The question remains: How many hours did you have to spare? In a time
when burnout is at an all-time high, how does it feel to invest your time and energy into a project that is ultimately set aside and forgotten?
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, you are not alone. Over the last ten years, we have listened to hundreds of educational leaders share variations of these stories. In fact, we had similar experiences ourselves many times. As teachers, we knew how to run our classrooms, plan lessons, differentiate instruction, and even how to deal with upset parents. However, when we became educational leaders, we felt greatly underprepared for our new roles. There was a secret no one told us. We had not left the classroom to merely become administrators. We had been promoted to the position of “Project Manager.” And you have too.
As a general rule, educators have strong relational skills and make outstanding servant leaders. We dive into our work with a passion that comes from a shared sense of altruistic purpose. However, we tend to be weaker at certain hard skills, like managing new and complex projects. Our leadership pipelines are simply not built for it. Teachers leave the classroom to become administrators, where they are expected to manage projects without any training or experience. As a result, they spend much of their time on projects that fail or otherwise never get completed. We want to change that.
For the past decade, we have studied the discipline of project management through the lens of educational leadership. Our goal is to provide educational leaders with a practical framework for project management that is specially tailored to the world of public education. The EDGE|Project provides a proven, step-by-step approach to managing educational projects that prepare leaders to deliver quality work on time and on budget. We train leaders using the EDGE framework to maximize their success through the four phases of the project life cycle:
Empower the work. Empower is the first phase of the EDGE framework and we will walk you through a step-by-step process for beginning well by having a “documented conversation of clarity” with your project sponsor. This conversation is designed to produce your first key document, the project charter. The project charter documents and empowers the project manager to expend district resources to perform the work of the project.
Develop the work. The goal of this phase is to create a comprehensive plan for the project. We unpack best practices according to seven core competencies and provide several resources for you to use as you develop your project plan. We also confront the harsh realities that educators often face when planning projects and prescribe solutions for overcoming those challenges.
Go to work. This phase involves ensuring that the core work of the project is completed to specification and delivered on time and on budget. We share insights into how to protect the project by mitigating risks, managing change requests, resolving conflicts, procuring needed resources, and building trust with key stakeholders.
Evaluate the work. We provide a customizable rubric that you can use to identify areas of strength and areas for growth as well as tools for documenting your lessons learned. Since most projects are iterative in nature, these lessons learned become valuable assets for future projects.
If you are interested in learning more about the EDGE Project Management framework, we
encourage you to attend the Learning Forward Texas pre-conference and sign up for the EDGE Project Management session. Alternatively, check us out at www.edgeleadershipsolutions.net.
We are excited for you to begin this journey and hope that you will allow us to walk alongside you to help you deliver your best work on time and on budget. Congratulations on your promotion, project manager!