Jamie Holmes goes back to college

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Jamie Holmes goes back to college

With engaging people in the community being the heart of Xoomworks, we have extended “south of the river” with a visit to The University of Greenwich.  Richard Johnson was kind enough to take us on a campus tour, which included the amazing Painted Hall and Chapel.




It was great pleasure being part of Richard’s lecture for Post Graduate Project Management on 20th March 2012 where Jamie Holmes presented his views on Project Management.

Below: a ‘conversation with Richard Johnson’ Senior Lecturer, University of Greenwich and Associate trainer at Metadata.

“Can you elaborate on how today went as an addition to your normal lecture”.

Richard’s answer: Students were very impressed with Jamie as he gave a clear message on what he thought was important to be a Project Manager, backed up with appropriate anecdotes. They appreciated his honesty in saying that he did not have the knowledge to answer all questions. Importantly, he was able to give the students a feel for what Project Management is like in reality. A key aspect was to hear someone else (other than me) talk about their experiences and this reinforced some of the messages that I have imparted to the students previously.

We in the University of Greenwich regard getting people who are currently working on Project Management to lecture to our students as very important to supplement theory with practical experience.

“How do you see xoomworks looking from the outside in? “

Richard’s Answer: I first came to hear about Xoomworks through one of their employees (Vai Venugopalan) attending a weekend training course on Business Analysis through a BritishComputer Society approved training company that I work for – Metadata. Upon hearing that I work 50% for Metadata and 50% for the University of Greenwich, Vai suggested that someone from Xoomworks could impart their practical project management experience during one of my University lectures; something I readily agreed to.

Xoomworks came over as an impressive organisation. I thought it refreshing that the organisation recognises a fundamental truth – that the most important aspect of project management is dealing with people, getting them involved in the project and understanding how to win around those who are negative about projects. It was also good to see that whilst Xoomworks recognise that methodologies are important, this is very much secondary to the issue of dealing with people. I liked the natural confidence that Jamie exuded whilst lecturing – he was very much a natural and I wouldn’t want to be in competition with him for my job at the University!

Another point that I would like to make about Xoomworks is that they clearly do far more than recognise the importance of dealing with people appropriately in project management situations; they recognise the vital importance of understanding people and forming relationships with people in whatever context that they meet them. It is excellent to read about how they go beyond the commercial and look to help out others, for example, in their relationship with Mossbourne Academy.

“What do you personally want consultancies to include in their approach that you preach to your students to take away and do and that you currently see not happening in businesses”

Richard’s Answer:  The Golden Rule of Project Management is to understand all Stakeholders involved and how they are likely to react to Change Programmes. Once this has been established it is vital that members of project teams understand how to interact with those stakeholders, be cognisant of the personalities that stakeholders have, and modify how they are approached accordingly. Too many organisations place far too much importance on having accreditation in a recognised project methodology. You can have all the certificates that you want and still be a lousy project manager. When seeking to recruit a new project manager Organisations need to focus on 4 key aspects:

  1. An ability to get on with all types of people.
  2. A capability of thinking widely (holistically) on what a client needs to move his business forward without being constrained by what exists today.
  3. Ability to think through what needs to be done to convert those hostile to change to accept change.
  4. A confidence in dealing with senior people and not being afraid to say no to them when it is the right, perhaps only, thing to do.

If a potential new recruit has those qualities then you can start to look at their accreditations in project management.

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