Managing Projects is a Passion

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Who would have thought as a practising commercial accountant within the advertising and computer industries for more than twenty years, and changing career direction and entering into the training industry, that there would have been opportunities for me in adapting to learning new skills knowledge of managing projects?

You have no doubt seen the advertisement about the gentleman Victor Kiam the Remington spokesman who liked ‘Remington Shavers’ so much that he bought the company.

Well, I witnessed many projects go off the rails and cost companies many millions of dollars over my working life. But a private project management training company approached me to instigate the possibilities of TAFE NSW through their commercial arm to partner and commence project management training throughout the state. This gave me the idea there was new business potential in directing my efforts to this niche market.

At that period, timing was not ideal until several other business case ideas were explored and implemented. Two major areas of opportunity and improvement were OH&S training across all faculties within TAFE NSW and call centre operator training in a real-time environment in partnership with industry at applicable locations within TAFE Colleges.

To improve the training uptake by industry and to gain relevance for OH&S training, it was imperative to work with regulators and industry bodies to facilitate currency of TAFE’s resources for use across NSW and in some cases interstate.

My research into the needs of call centres led to discussions with the Australian Teleservices Association to source the leading call centres in corporate enterprises, including outsourcing companies and government agencies, to assist with developing business cases that enabled suitable industry training resources to be developed.

As a person who enjoys a challenge, especially where it leads to business opportunities it led myself to formally undertaking learning the skills required to understand managing projects as a business opportunity. This included gaining certification as a Master Project Director (MPD) through the Australian Institute of Project Management. This skill enabled me to project manage several major projects across the state, including of course, implementation of project management training at suitable TAFE Colleges.

Some ‘snap shots’ to consider when approaching your project include:

  • Developing a scope of inclusions
    • What is your rationale for undertaking the project?
    • Background as to why
    • Project definition (purpose)
    • What do you want to achieve (objectives)?
    • Establish the risks associated to the project
    • Set your budgets
    • Timelines (project delivery strategy)
    • Resource allocation
    • Continual improvement
    • Communication strategies
    • Project delivery summary (what worked well and what didn’t)
    • Depending on the size of the project the scope can vary from simple to multifaceted.

 

At all times there are MUST-include processes to follow, for example:

  • Project definition (description of the project)
  • Objectives (what do you want to achieve?)
  • Schedule (timelines for each step of the objectives)
  • Resources (who will do the works and budget allocation)
  • Risks (what could go wrong and how you would minimise the risk)
  • Quality improvements

 

Now semi-retired, I continue to implement the skills gained in project management by managing community projects on the Mid North Coast. One such highly successful project was the Coffs Harbour Writers Group hosting the ‘Grassroots Writers Weekend’ event in 2015. This event attracted more than 120 participants and due to restricted venue issues we had to turn away over 60 people from the waiting list.

 

Lorraine Penn and The Grassroots Writers Weekend
Lorraine Penn and The Grassroots Writers Weekend

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Lorraine Penn

Lorraine Penn

Lorraine loves a challenge and determination has taken her far and wide from living in the quiet areas of Brighton-Le-Sands, NSW, schooled at a girl’s school, to travelling intrastate, interstate and offshore for business development. Having experienced more than twenty years in senior positions where she was responsible for developing business opportunities for small to large organisations, including one of the largest vocational training government agencies in Australia, TAFE NSW.

In 2005 Lorraine agreed to be a contributing writer for ‘What My Favourite Teacher Taught Me’ book, a collection of inspirational stories selected by author, Robyn Henderson.

In 2008 she decided to semi-retire and lead a more relaxing lifestyle by relocating to Coffs Harbour where she has taken on a different challenge by being appointed to a non-executive director’s position with registered training company, Enterprise & Training Company Ltd.

Apart from the above director’s position, she is giving back to the community by participating as a business mentor and contributing in the community as committee member on several community projects.

In 2012 she was elected to the President’s position for Coffs Harbour Writers’ Group,  a position held until August 2016.

She is currently challenging herself further by turning her life’s journey into a book and has commenced a short stories blog, Snip Bits of Life, which is a ‘compilation of life’s happenings.’

 

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