How Do You Get To Know What You Don’t Know?

Taking NotesCongratulations! You just joined a new company, started in a new department, or are kicking off a new project and you are so excited! It means you will be working with new people, new processes, and new technologies. But, along with this excitement, a wave of uneasiness cascades over you because you know that you have also left your comfort zone. You used to know everything about everything in your old position, but now you are starting from scratch!

What is it that you can do to come up to speed quickly? The following four steps can bring you up to speed quick:

Step 1: Interview People

Take some time to sit down and talk to your peers, associates, colleagues, and the new people on your team about what they do. Take notes. Find out what’s important to them, what gets in their way, what slows them down, and what do they need to do in order to accomplish their job. This will not only provide you with the critical information you need, but it will also provide a great opportunity to start building relationships.

Step 2: Look For Patterns

Patterns will emerge as a result of these conversations. You are going to hear that the same person’s name come up time and again, or the same acronym, or hear that multiple projects are dead in their tracks due to the same problem. Zero in on those and continue to find out more information about each of these areas until you have a view into the big picture.

Step 3: Learn What Is Important

Being new to a team, project or company can many times be compared to walking through a “mine” field. You have to be mindful of where you step because you don’t know what has the potential of blowing up. All types of problems will arise in your new position. Some are important to pay attention to and others are not. The sooner you realize what is truly a “mine”, the better off you are going to be. You can then avoid or diffuse any of these sensitive situations.

Step 4: Don’t Discount Your Knowledge as a PMP Project Manager

You bring a lot to the table as a PMP Project Manager. Even though there may be new people, processes, and technologies — you have your base of on-the-job and professional training that you are bringing to the table with you. Make it a priority to bring value to your new team by applying your skill, experience, and knowledge immediately.

Those are some of the things you can do to get to know what you don’t know, ramp up quickly, and bring value to any organization.

What are some things that you do to find out what you don’t know?

Leave a reply

PMI Logo1 Powered by, Inc. | Copyright © 2007 - 2017,, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

"PMBOK, PMI, PMP and REP" are trademarks, service marks or certification marks of the Project Management Institute Inc. Inc. | 3500 Lenox Road, Suite 1500 | Atlanta, GA 30326 | 404-815-4644