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Inspiration from project management blogger Elizabeth Harrin

Carrying on our mission to bring you as much inspiration as we can, we have the next interview in our inspiration series, with project management blogger, Elizabeth Harrin.

One of the reasons Elizabeth gives for starting A Girls Guide to Project Management is that she felt that there “weren’t enough women writing and speaking about project management”.

Although this has been improving over the years, why do you think there is still a lack of female leaders?

“I don’t think that there is an adequate pipeline of female senior managers who then make the transition into the senior executive suite.

“As a result, we don’t have many high profile companies with female executives.

“In project management terms, I think there are now plenty of women leading projects and female project sponsors, however, when I started the blog, they just weren’t visible.

“That has changed and now we have more women speaking at events, but, despite this, we still aren’t as visible out there as thought leaders, speakers and authors.

“That’s for the same reasons it has always been – we’re not that great at putting ourselves forward and just get on with doing a good job.

“I know from speaking to conference organisers that it isn’t through lack of trying that they don’t get enough women presenting”.

What qualities in women do you feel make them good project managers?

“I don’t think they are particularly feminine qualities, but if you want to be a good project manager you need to be able to communicate, get on well with people, delegate, manage your team, balance the books, take decisions but empower others to do so as well”.

What is the worst project you’ve worked on and why?

“I’ve not worked on many awful projects but I do remember a dull brief about software licences once.

“It wasn’t difficult, but it was low priority for everyone except me and it was mainly auditing and completing database records.

“Then at the other end of the scale I’ve worked on some highly stressful, multimillion pound projects – one of which I had to convince the sponsor to put on hold while I sorted out what was really going on, and that’s a different kind of difficult”.

What was the best project you’ve worked on and why?

“Whenever you ask me that, I’m most likely to say that my last project was the best project I’ve worked on”.

What three common lessons reoccur throughout your communication with fellow project managers?

“That post implementation reviews come too late to do anything about the issues raised for the project customer.

“That generally we’re rubbish at organisational knowledge sharing and managing lessons learned, if we bother to capture them at all.

“That we all need to be a bit braver and make recommendations, challenge senior managers and take ownership of problems to get the right things done right”.