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It's all about people 7: Project support White Paper

White Paper

It's all about people 7: Project support White Paper

White Paper

  • White Paper
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Capabilities
  • Behaviour
  • Methods & frameworks
  • Project management
  • Roles
  • PRINCE2

Author  Duncan Wade

Duncan is the lead trainer and author of the PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile courses offered by Learning Tree International.

April 9, 2017 |

 6 min read

  • White Paper
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Capabilities
  • Behaviour
  • Methods & frameworks
  • Project management
  • Roles
  • PRINCE2

Consulting in project management (PRINCE2®) and agile working (Scrum and Kanban), Duncan is active in the provision of consultancy and passionate about the value of mentoring and coaching.

www.hic.co.uk

Duncan is the lead trainer and author of the PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile courses offered by Learning Tree International.

www.learningtree.co.uk


Project Support

Figure 1.1 PRINCE2 Project management team roles
Figure 1.1 PRINCE2 Project management team roles

This is a fantastic opportunity for me. I have a long term goal of becoming a project manager and project support lets me get right to the heart of things to really learn what is important.

The admin side gets me involved with the real detailed paperwork and processes. Configuration management, change control, risk management: these aren’t just names to me now. I’ve maintained the logs and registers and attended the meetings where their status and context were discussed. And then I go straight to a meeting where the project board decide whether the project should continue or not!

OK let’s slow down... let me explain the details of the job.

Our project support implementation is a small team who work alongside our project managers. We are each assigned to a specific project or project manager, though if the projects are small, we might take on more than one. The larger, more complex, projects tend to be run in a formal manner, which means more work for project support.

I am working full time on a large project run by one of our senior project managers. My tasks include (by the way, these aren’t official titles, they’re just the way the job was explained to me):

  • Scribe and reporter
    • I’m the minute taker for all key meetings. I understand how crucial timely, accurate and clear communication is to projects. Poor communication is cited as one of the common causes for project failure.
    • To further support the project’s communication, I keep an eye on the communication management approach. This simple document is crucial to the success of the project. It lists our key stakeholders and cross-references them with what information each stakeholder should receive, how often they should receive it and the manner they prefer to receive it. I help the project manager to be in control of the information flow.
    • We write regular formal reports on progress and budgets. I pull the data together from the team and our records to help the project manager meet our standards.
  • Record Keeper
    • The project maintains a number of logs and registers to support the capture and tracking of various events, actions and status changes. I process the information that comes through as emails and categorize/group it for review by the project manager. I have learnt a lot from the project manager. They have shown me how to recognize risks, issues, requests for change, off-specifications and many other common pieces of information.
      Of course they have final say on what goes where and what action we take but I enjoy packaging it correctly. I take a lot of pride in categorizing things so she doesn’t need to correct my thinking. It’s still a work in progress but I’m getting better all the time.
  • Systems specialist
    • I’ve been trained to be our team’s expert in the project planning tool and configuration management system that we use. The information and data in these systems needs to be kept up to date. This is done with direction from the project manager but I can often do things quicker and more easily than others.
  • And finally the “anything else that comes up and I can help with” role
    • I have seen enough to know that good project teams pull together. We do unexpected things some of the time and I help where I can.

What's the good news?

Experience and training. I can learn valuable skills while contributing to the team goals. Project work is varied and a key part of learning is to get involved and do things. According to my development plan, I am expected to complete the PRINCE2 Foundation certification so that I can start to understand the theory behind the practice. That’s a recognized qualification that will count for something on my CV.

As part of the Project Support team, I’m learning more about our organisation’s standards and delivery approaches.

There is one more thing that is important to recognize. Some of my colleagues have done this job for a while. They’re not looking for it to lead anywhere. They enjoy it and they’re exactly where they want to be. It’s an important role that makes a valuable contribution. It can lead to other roles but it does not have to if you do not want it to.

Is there any bad news?

I’m not a decision-maker. I’m a support and a help. Sometimes I want to do more but I guess that’s the next job!

How do I feel?

Very satisfied. I’m achieving a valuable contribution while developing my skills, knowledge and qualifications