Association for Project Management
Why mentoring and volunteering are high on project professionals’ agenda this year
Blog posted by: Mike Hine, 10 May 2022.
In an earlier article, I shared some of the best answers we received from Project journal readers in spring 2022 as part of our ‘Project Me’ series.
‘Project Me’ canvasses the community’s views on a range of hot topics, from project ‘hacks’ to tips to enhance your professional development.
This article shares some of the best comments we’ve received over the past month. There has been a strong focus on volunteering and mentoring in the early stages of 2022, it seems – with APM launching its own Mentoring Programme in January.
Elsewhere, our reader interactions show that project professionals continue to value training and education opportunities to boost their career.
Giving back through mentoring
Jonathan Binks, a Senior Project Manager at consulting and digital services company Sopra Steria, told Project he has been “pleasantly surprised” by how much he has learned from his recent experience of becoming a mentor.
“With many years’ experience in project management,” Binks explained, “I wanted to give something back to the community and colleagues that I work with – especially new graduates. However, I soon found that I was getting as much benefit from the experience as the people I was mentoring.
“I would recommend anyone to consider being a mentor, as it resets the lens through which you view yourself and the job that you do. By understanding and helping someone else with their career, it also helps you to be more reflective on your own – making it easier to recognise and appreciate your own accomplishments.”
Reshika Gordon-Tamang, Senior P3M Consultant at DAS Ltd, has also found solace in mentoring during the pandemic.
“The past two years have been tough for everyone,” she said, “but one thing that has really brought positivity to my life is mentoring – both being mentored and being a mentor myself. Life is all about learning and broadening your knowledge. My take on how to improve your project career skills this year would be to find a mentor or become one.”
Look beyond your comfort zone
In addition to traditional mentoring arrangements, the idea of reverse mentoring – where younger or early-career employees share their skills with senior colleagues – is gaining traction.
“One of the many ways to improve professionalism and understanding in project management is reverse mentoring,” wrote Sheilina Somani, Senior Programme Manager/Chartership Assessor at Positively Project Management. “This provides an opportunity to gain feedback from those around us.
“It is fascinating to gain insights into other perceptions. The time invested in discussing aspects of project management stimulates thinking, listening and reflection – all key project management skills. As we gain experience and confidence, we may not notice new approaches and techniques being deployed. While there’s comfort in familiarity, there are excitement and learning opportunities in the feedback and techniques of others.”
The value of community
Project readers also told us they are keen to further immerse themselves in the world of project and programme management in two ways: volunteering and training.
Dr Roni Ajao, Executive Director at MRL Public Sector Consultants, told us of her continued commitment to “attend and exchange ideas in SIGs and continue to volunteer by sharing my knowledge and experiences in the field to diverse groups, ie women and ethnic minorities.”
She continued: “A key resolution I made for 2022 was to attend a course in project management as an opportunity to refresh my skills, learn and to gain a deeper understanding with regards to recent trends. For example, the pandemic resulted in the use of technology to manage programmes and projects remotely, which requires new and different types of skill sets in comparison to traditional on-site delivery.”
Project Consultant Tom Barnardiston, meanwhile, told us: “This year I am working towards achieving my ChPP and I am currently preparing for the interview stage and looking to get involved in the APM London Branch.
“After joining APM a few years ago, I was looking at training providers to help me with the rigorous ChPP application process through Route 3. I got in touch with Marion Thomas and she provided me with comprehensive information, taking me through the ExtraordinaryPM learning hub, and she has held weekly calls to provide mentoring throughout.”
For Emma-Ruth Arnaz-Pemberton, Director of Consulting Services at Wellingtone, the boom in self-learning is one of the positive aspects of the ‘new normal’.
“Over the past two years, the online learning industry has seen a huge boom,” she said. “The result of this drive towards self-development means that many are returning to ‘normal work’ with newfound skills. Everyone knows that a course doesn’t make a professional, so the focus now is on developing the theory into practice.
“So, if you are still looking to develop your skills, find the right course for you and then get to developing it through your day-to-day work, online networks and peer groups.”
What are your current priorities and ambitions for your career? Share them with the Project journal team and in the comments below.
About The Author
Mike is a business journalist and editor with a special focus on project management, finance and IT
Latest News from
Association for Project Management
Not applying learnings from projects impacting bottom line for businesses, APM survey finds24/05/2022 10:20:00
Despite the increasing adoption of project-based ways of working among senior business leaders, many are still failing to identify and apply learnings from ongoing and completed projects, Association for Project Management (APM) has found.
Delivering Sustainability at Power of Projects23/05/2022 16:20:00
The role of the project manager is becoming increasingly important in ensuring projects are delivered with sustainability at their core.
Top tips from Chartered Project Professionals for project professionals becoming Chartered20/05/2022 10:20:00
Blog posted by: Annie Mirza, 19 May 2022.
The advantages of a benefits‑led delivery culture and how to create one19/05/2022 16:20:00
Blog posted by: Harris Vallianatos, 18 May 2022.
Help assess your competencies as a project leader16/05/2022 16:20:00
Professor Graham Winch, Professor of Project Management, and Dr Eunice Maytorena-Sanchez, Senior Lecturer in Project Management at Alliance Manchester Business School, will be hosting an interactive workshop ‘Strategic Project Organising’ at APM’s Power of Projects Conference on Thursday 9 June.
Megaproject delivery: the four horsemen of project leadership thinking16/05/2022 10:20:00
Blog posted by: Tunde Ajia, 12 May 2022.
Mental health conversations at work are vital12/05/2022 10:20:00
Blog posted by: Gillian Jones-Williams, 09 May 2022.
APM’s response to the Queen’s speech11/05/2022 16:20:00
Association for Project Management (APM) has challenged the UK Government to harness the power of projects for social and economic benefit, following the Queen’s speech: the State Opening of Parliament.