It used to be a number of years ago that if you were at a company for a long period of time, you would acquire vast amounts of institutional knowledge. This knowledge would set you up as an expert within that organization. With this knowledge came a certain sense of security…knowing that you knew a lot.
You would know how to get things done. You know who to go to in order to complete a task, or get the final pieces that you need for a project to be completed. You had the organizational history of what worked. You knew what didn’t work and the reasons why. You knew the reasons why decisions were made and that thought process behind these decisions. You knew, most importantly, where the dead bodies lie. This is all very useful; however, just having organization knowledge is no longer the value that it used to be if this is all you focus on.
What is important now? In addition to this knowledge, you need to be in the middle of the revenue stream of your company. The bottom line is that businesses are in the business of making money. You need to be in that mindset of: ‘What can I do to make sure that this business successful?’ and ‘How can I make sure that I am in the middle of those activities that are bringing cash in the door?’ Here are 3 ways:
- Work on projects that generate revenue. Simple enough but there are certain projects that do not. They may be supporting infrastructure or other internal initiatives that are not bringing in money but would be considered an expense to the company. Focus on those that will bring in cash.
- Stay away from those projects that don’t bring in revenue. Again, it may be an internal project or it may be something that we personally find enjoyable or interesting. However, if it’s not bringing cash in the door it’s something we would want to balance our level of involvement in.
- Always ask, “What brings the cash in the door?” Focus on those activities that get your company paid. There are typically billing events within a project. For example, 1/3rd of the fee is paid upon completion of a particular phase, or the entire fee is paid upon completion of the project. Focus on those activities that bring in the cash in by reaching those milestones.
When you couple knowing a lot within your organization – how to get things done, where the dead bodies lie, and the organizational history along with how to bring in cash, then you will find yourself to be in a much better position within your company as a Project Manager.