4.2 Personal self-evaluation
You could also carry out a personal self-evaluation, to contribute to your own development as a project manager. You can develop a list of questions to evaluate your own performance:
Were the project objectives achieved?
Did the project stay within budget?
How were problems that occurred during the project been resolved?
What could you have done differently to improve the final result?
What do your colleagues feel about the results of the project?
How good is your current sponsor relationship and the relationship with other stakeholders?
Will your sponsor recommend you to colleagues?
Has your sponsor asked you to undertake additional work?
What have I learnt from managing this project?
What skills/competences could I develop to help me with future projects?
Some of the information you will need might be obtained from your colleagues and project team, such as:
To what extent did I contribute to achieving the project objectives through the way in which I managed the project?
What specific actions did I take which helped us to meet the project objectives?
What did I do that hindered us in achieving the project objectives?
What might I have done that I didn't do to help us to achieve the project objectives?
Would you appoint me to a similar role in future?
Would you choose to work with me in similar roles in future?
Would you recommend me to colleagues?
Some of these questions can be usefully asked from an early stage in the project to review the working relationships within the team. Other questions relate to the final outcomes and answers will be coloured by the extent to which the project is considered successful. Many of the questions will need to be adapted for use in a particular setting.
Imagine that you have just been asked to manage a new project that will be more challenging than any that you have managed before. Make a note of any ways in which you might plan for personal development, and how you would then evaluate the development achieved.
There are a number of areas in which you might have considered planning personal development. Such broad areas might include improving your skills in managing a project, your knowledge of techniques useful in managing projects and your understanding of the process of managing a project. In particular, you might have noted such skills areas as interpersonal relationships, leadership, effective communications, management of control systems, and management of relationships with partners and stakeholders. You might have focused on developing your understanding of techniques by applying new knowledge in a new situation.
Personal development can be evaluated in the same way as other factors. Firstly, you need to set targets against which to assess your success. Ask yourself, ‘How shall I know that I have succeeded?’ and identify the most significant indicators. As the project proceeds, you can collect evidence relating to your personal achievements as well as that relating to the project objectives. You may do this by compiling a portfolio of evidence which demonstrates your achievements against each objective that you have set yourself. Another way of keeping a record is a project journal, in which to set down what you notice and learn as the project develops. Some people find it helpful to note what works better or worse than they expected, and to look for reasons for this. It is sometimes possible to identify underlying causes of both success and failure by keeping a personal record of this nature.
It can be lonely managing a project; and it can be difficult to seek feedback about your own performance if the team are new and lack confidence, or if the situation requires you to take a strong lead. Consider asking a senior manager in your organisation to act as your mentor for the duration of the project. This should not be someone who has a strong personal stake in the project, but someone who can help you learn from what happens as the process unfolds. Share with your mentor your plans to use the project for personal development, and ask her or him to help you make the most out of the opportunities the project offers. You might find it helpful to draw up the framework of a personal development plan, indicating some targets for development and identifying how you will know that you have reached them. You might also want to collect evidence of your achievements, to produce as you pursue new career options.