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Spotlight: Project Management Interest Group

What started out as a sprinkling of project managers looking for a few extra resources to do their jobs, turned into a group of over 30 colleagues around UCOP coming together monthly to provide support and ideas to one another.

In August of 2009, Ginny Cox, Debbie Shen, Ramon Lim and Karla Campbell, all of whom manage projects at UCOP, collaborated to launch a Project Management Interest Group (PMIG). The group invites any and all UCOP colleagues dealing with aspects of project management to come together once a month to offer best practices and advice to do their jobs better.

“More people are playing project manager roles in OP but don’t have formal training or ‘project manager’ in their title. We launched this interest group so we could talk with people in other departments about their best practices,” said Ginny Cox, who is a project manager in the Office of Research and Graduate studies. “It’s sort of like a support group.”

In the first three meetings, the group has discussed fresh, efficient ways of working within UCOP’s newly structured departments. “We’re all trying to figure out how to do more with less resources. This group gives us a forum to share our ideas and uncover what might work for other project managers,” says Debbie Shen, who is also a project manager in the Office of Research and Graduate studies.

Ramon Lim, the director of strategic IT projects in IR&C, has found the group to be very informative. “Given the amount of projects coming to IR&C, we are actively working on a more formalized way in which we handle them and it has been helpful seeing how people in other departments are doing things, because it can help our overall UCOP project management processes become more efficient.”

Karla Campbell, a formally trained project manager in the Office of Strategic Change Resources, said one of the most valuable things about the group is that they serve as excellent resources for understanding how to manage a project in the UCOP environment. “You can Google anything on project management and find thousands of results for how to do things; however, the search engine results don’t take into account culture. The PMIG discusses best practices and suggest ways or tips on how to apply them that have been successful at UCOP.”

When asked to give other colleagues advice for starting their own interest group, Cox, Shen, Lim and Campbell all agreed: find out if you have skills others in UCOP would benefit from, or vice versa. Collaborate with them to define what a group could look like, and what type of value other employees would gain from it. “You don’t need to have everything mapped out before the first meeting. We spent the bulk of our time at the first PMIG meeting discussing what everyone was interested in. We came away with a long list of topics to tackle in the upcoming months.”

The next PMIG meeting is today, Tuesday, January 12 at 12:00 p.m. in room 6113 of Franklin. Anyone is welcome to join.

(Pictured in the photo from left to right: Ramon Lim, Ginny Cox, Debbie Shen, Karla Campbell)

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