Project Manager as Organization’s Agility Initiator

It’s only the third week of November 2017 and we’ve seen a lot of businesses closing down throughout the year. Shocking enough, some famous names are among those closed.

Image from: The Straits Times

Why Those Businesses Are Closed is probably the first question people have in mind. Of course, when it comes to business, the main reason for closure is that it cannot survive today’s market. The next question will be why it can’t survive. Generally speaking, disruptive software-based competitors are the ones to blame, but they’re not the only reason. If we ever dig deeper, then we will find out that the startup businesses work in a faster, more precise and adaptive way than those older businesses that customers, especially when it comes to retail, seek for in this ever evolving world.

Project Management Institute, realizing that business operations are run by project managers, has published ‘Agile Practice Guide’ together with their ‘Project Management Body of Knowledge’ 6th Edition guide this year. This publication is firming project manager’s position in an organization: to be the agility initiator. In short, to help the organizations survive in the agile era by spreading the agile work ethics to the project teams which, expectedly, will spread even wider to the whole organization.

How Does Agile Project Management Work will be the next question people have in mind. Most organizations today are using the conventional project management method, where project plans are created and firmed prior to executing the projects. This is a very good way of running a project, but not so effective today, since this method typically takes a very long time (in some cases even months) for project planning alone.

Agile project management is not necessarily a new thing: in earlier version of PMBOK, waterfall method was introduced. Even though waterfall and agile are two different things, but the idea is the same in the sense that both do high level project planning and work on the details when the project is running. This way, projects can be completed within a shorter period and more specific, desirable results. It is not a secret that customer is #1 factor in a business’ success. Today, competition is getting tighter, hence customers have more options. If one business cannot keep up with customers’ demands, then they will certainly choose another option. When a business has no customer, then it will soon be closed down.

Project managers are the key persons of a business – they are the single point of contact between customer and an organization. Surviving organizations will quickly see their project managers as their best opportunity to change the way they’re working to agility. Starting with project teams, to continue to the whole organization, while keeping the business goals in mind.

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to teenage and young adult girls: be independent

Growing up and living in Indonesia for 28+ years have opened my eyes to 2 things: 1. The older generation, especially from some culture groups, still puts women in lower level than men; 2. On the other side, the younger generation (now the late 30s – early 40s) has been more open minded and supports feminism/emancipation. However, living in eastern/Asian culture where we are taught to always respect the elder has somehow brought the younger generation to finally agree to put men in higher class than women (even though in practice, I see that more young families treat women as equal to men – which is good).

There’s a saying: you are who you think you are, which is true. With the paradigm that women are on lower level than men, some people, especially from the lower education background, really put women as the lower group with less access to higher education and career. Thank God my parents are within the group of people who think of men and women as equals. They put me and my sister in good schools, teach us to be independent (with very less chance of getting spoiled), and support us to get decent career.

Dear Lovely Girls,

I know that most of you are feeling insecure about your physical appearance and love life a lot at the moment – I’ve been there, but it shouldn’t prevent you from preparing yourself for the future, to be independent. Most people (especially guys) misinterpret ‘independent women’ as the kind of women who can stand for themselves and don’t need men. This is not entirely wrong; we need to be able to stand for ourselves, regardless of whether we have men by our sides.

The best advice I can give you to be independent:

  • You can do anything if you believe you can.Image result for independent woman
  • Nobody can tell you that you can’t do something. (Just like the quote from ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’)Image result for the pursuit of happiness quotes
  • Never wait for others – when you want to do something, do it.
  • Study hard for what you want. Until today, I still believe that education is the most important and priceless thing someone can get. You can buy certificates, but you cannot buy the education experiences and the values you get from it.
  • Speak up and be bold.
  • Do things that you want to do, but listen to your parents. They might not know what you want, but they can tell you what you need if you open up to them. Anyway, they’ve lived longer than you.
  • Stand up for the things you believe in.
  • The best revenge (to the people who hurt you) is by being the best version of you. When you’re at your best, you will be happier than ever. When you’re happy, those who hate or hurt you will hate you even more, but you won’t have time to care.

If any of you ever worry that being an independent woman is going to push guys away, then don’t. When you’re independent, a guy that is meant for you will not run away – instead, he will stand by your side proudly.

Be independent.

XOXO

Self-claimed independent woman

on platonic friendship

Platonic describes a relationship that is purely spiritual and not physical. If a guy and a girl hang out all the time but aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, they’d describe their friendship as platonic.

(Quoted from: https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/platonic)

Having spent most of my early teenage years being friends with only girls, it was really shocking for me when I first befriended some guys and actually enjoyed it. Some big reasons of why I enjoyed being friends with guys in the first place are:

  • I can care less about what I wear and how I look. As long as I feel comfortable with what I’m in, then I’ll be good to go. (The downside of this is I tended to dress up the way I wanted to; this is a bit improved today.)
  • I can speak what I want to without having to worry too much. Guys are not as sensitive as girls, so as long as you don’t say things that might hurt their ego, you’re good to go. (The downside of this is when you do too much heart-to-heart conversation with them, they don’t know that the topic is sensitive for them not to talk about it to others.)
  • They are my voices of reasons. I don’t have older brothers and my dad just sometimes can’t understand the problems I’m facing. It was not so pleasant at first (especially during their early 20s, remembering that guys mature up later than girls), but soon in their 25s, they finally become more mature and logical about stuff.

I now have several guy friends with whom I have no physical nor sexual desire, and we meet up regularly. Not as much as when I was single, but we still hang out and chat at times. I don’t know if these friendships will still be there after I’m married and busy with my own life, but I hope things will work out well for us all. 🙂

why I do not regret going back to Jakarta

A while after I returned from Australia back in 2012, a lot of friends asked me the same question: ‘why did you return to Jakarta?’, to which I replied the same: ‘because I couldn’t find a job in Australia’.

Above all things, there are some reasons to why I do not regret going back to Jakarta:

  1. I love Indonesia. No matter how messy and sucks the country is, I was born and grew up in this country. My family is here. So I have no reason of settling down in another place. Back then, even with the fact that I really wanted to work in Australia, I have always wanted to go back to Indonesia by the age of 30s. I can’t bear the thought of leaving my parents going through their old days only by themselves.
  2. This country gives me more opportunities than other country could. I’m not comparing Indonesia to (no offense) lower level countries – it’s just natural that I would prefer working at more developed countries instead. However, after some conversations with friends, I came to the decision that my opportunities are bigger in Indonesia than in any other countries. I can freely apply for the jobs that I want without working permit restrictions and consequently resign from the jobs I don’t like without having to think about the penalties (that I would be imposed to if I were working abroad).
  3. At the same time, it also gives me more challenges. The best thing about this country is the people’s openness to others from different background. The different background is the most challenging thing of working in Indonesia: you’ll have to be able to understand the way they think and speak since it tends to be different in every region.

on ‘who I am’

I have been so much unconfident for the past 2 years – I feel like I’m stuck with my career that every time someone asks me about my job, I would be flustered and speechless. This is proof that I’ve let my job define who I am, which is not supposed to happen.

When I was younger, I would be so proud telling everyone who I was – I focused more on the personal traits rather than what my class ranking was or what I had created for school expos.

Now that I meet more people from professional relations than those of personal, our conversations will automatically be focused on careers and jobs. Where you work and what you do matter. Hence, when you’re not satisfied with them, you will feel embarrassed.

Some time ago (can’t exactly remember when), I joined a short course themed ‘personal leadership’, where we were told to lead ourselves before we lead others. The most important thing in leading ourselves is to know ourselves – that is, to be able to define ‘who I am’ as a person instead of as whatever role you have in your job.

iamwhoiam

After the course, I have just realized that who I am matters. Not everyone you meet cares about what you do for a living and how much you earn, but s/he cares a lot about what you do and how you make them feel. So, the next time I need to introduce myself, I will confidently reply:

I’m Inez, a unique woman who would normally feel insecure at times but always try to see the positive sides of things. … (Other things are not going to be shared here.)

daddy’s little princess (another post for girls)

Dear Ladies,

I’m writing to let you know that every woman will always be her daddy’s little princess, no matter how old she is.

I am now 30, still live with my parents (in Indonesia, a child would normally live with his/her parents until s/he’s married unless there are special conditions, e.g. working in different city or having bad relationship with parents), hence have curfew. It was a big problem at first (read: when I first moved back in to my parents’ house), having most of my colleagues coming from outside Jakarta (they don’t live with their parents), but as I’m getting older, I instead use it as an excuse to run away from office’s ‘social events’. It is almost always, by the time I’m first invited to those ‘social events’, people would look at me strangely, wondering my parents’ curfew. They would sometimes ask me how old I am that I still live by the curfew. (To which I would just smile and replied: their house, their rules.)

The frequently asked questions are then:

Q: Does the same rule (curfew) apply to your sister?

A: Yes, and even worse sometimes. There are times when my parents would have looked for my sister when she’s not home at 7 PM. (They would start looking for me when they don’t listen from me until 8 PM.)

Q: Aren’t you disturbed by the rule, given the fact that it disables you from joining events?

A: The fact that the rule exists will of course disturb me the most, but I always try to see things from my parents’ views. They just want to make sure their girls don’t fall into false ‘friendships’ (in their world, the word means: Jakarta’s night life).

Q: If you are that much disturbed, then why didn’t you do something?

A: I tried asking my parents if they would allow me to stay over at a friend’s house so they won’t need to be worried with me coming home late, but their answer was also big NO. Instead, they make the curfew flexible at times (with notes: I go out with friends they know, to certain events e.g. music concert/friend’s birthday celebration/company event, and will arrive home in the safe hands, i.e. either dropped by a friend or by a trustworthy taxi) to make sure I come home afterwards.

The turning point for me was when a friend’s daughter was just born. After a year or so, he told me that as his daughter grows older, he naturally becomes more possessive of her that he’s thinking of sending someone out to tail her by the time she asks his permission for dates. LOL. Of course, he hasn’t gone through what my father and I have, but for sure that’s what my dad would have thought when he just had me. And my sister, of course. I’d then realized that whatever my dad does, he’d always think of me as the little princess I once was, and I will always be one for him.

All in all, my dad’s sure become a role model for me – he’d successfully been the kind of guy I want to marry (with some improvements here and there), and I wish my future husband can also be the kind of guy my future daughter(s) would want to marry. He cares about me more than any guy in this world ever does, and will still be. Your father might not say his feelings out loud, but his actions scream it in the greatest way.

Love you, dad.

XOXO

 

what I wish I knew when I was 20

True, I lived alone in a lodging when I was 20 years old. I was in my 3rd year of undergrad and felt like I knew a lot of things. Truth is, I knew nothing back then. Now I wish I knew these things:

  1. A relationship can either be toxic or healthy. Yes, I was never in a relationship when I was 20. And I’ve been in 3 in the past 10 years. And yes, I have been in both the toxic and healthy ones. To put it simply, healthy relationship will make you a better individual, while the healthy one the opposite.
  2. Your career is determined by your first job. Well, how could I have known it? I was just a 3rd year student, still more than one year away from having to think about working. I didn’t even think much about graduating. LOL. Thank God I have my mom who guided me well during the job offer selection. (Otherwise I might have been trapped into working a job I will regret later.)
  3. Your family will be the part of your life that you appreciate most. Everything in your life starts with your family. Now that there are many sad stories about broken home families I heard, I’m feeling even more grateful for the family I was born into. It is true that you cannot choose which family you’re born into, but in most cases, they are the persons who will love you unconditionally.
  4. Who your family is or where you went to school doesn’t matter in life – who you are does. During school years, most students are dependent to their parents. That’s why most children will feel that family and school are important. The opposite will happen after you’re becoming an adult – who you are matters.
  5. Getting a job that pays you decently is hard, but managing to collect money is even harder. I was a fresh graduate when I worked for my first job, with lower salary than most of my male college friends. I’d then continued to Master’s, where after graduating, my first job also paid me lower than most of my male friends. According to research, women tend to get lower pay due to lower self esteem and easier to be negotiated. This is because women have the duty of taking care of their families more than guys do, making them less productive and work less hours. I think I should just live with the fact and stop living a fancy lifestyle, no? ‘No’ would be my answer then, still tempted to eat at fancy restaurants, have coffee at fancy cafes and go on holidays now and then. 😀 Those, for me, are money well spent – an even better investment than bank deposits.
  6. Your friends are not gonna be with you forever – they get lost with time. Research proved that friendships that last more than 7 years are going to last forever. From my experience, only a few high school and college friends are still in contact with me. And even fewer that I still regularly meet. Sometimes I think my parents are right – no friendship lasts forever.