Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Project Managing My Job Hunt 1: Charter & Scope

My project management course has proven to be interesting, but I decided I would get more out of the process if I had a project to manage.  If only I had a short-term, complex problem to solve that needed to balance schedules and outcomes... oh wait, I'm looking for a job.  And that has proven to be an unruly, challenging project.  I am hoping that applying the PMI principles to the hunt will help me get organized, and reinforce what I am learning in class.  Here goes.

The first week of class, we talked about defining a charter and scope.  The charter grants the authority for the project, the scope defines the bounds of the project (which should be temporary in nature).

In my case, I already have authority to find myself a job, but setting up the project in this way necessarily organizes other downstream events. 

Sandlin's Job Hunt Project Charter and Scope:

This charter grants authority to Sandlin to find adequate employment, including enlisting necessary resources and refining the outcomes of the search (which must include a definition of 'adequate').  This project is only intended to identify and secure her next full-time employment, not necessarily future employment opportunities.

Notice how my charter includes some key phrases like "identify and secure employment," and "enlisting resources."  In the next round, we'll be defining the necessary tasks to complete this project, and those phrases begin to suggest what some of them might be.  One of the first things I am hoping to take on in the project is to more clearly assess what fields I might be able to apply my skills to, and then direct my applications to positions there, using appropriate tactics.  If there were a budget or specific deadline, these would be included.  Unfortunately, the job hunt has neither (this might turn out to be challenging in future steps).

Also, the charter is not very proscribed- it doesn't state that I will secure 'employment as a senior scientist in the operations division at Amgen.'  A project isn't worth managing unless there is an element of creativity/problem solving that needs to occur during the time frame of the project.  If the only creative exercise is to create the task list, which then is given to a team of automatons to complete without any further input, you may be micromanaging.   But, there is also an outer limit- I don't have to figure out what I am doing with my WHOLE life, just my next job.

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