How To Get Over the Ramp Up

By Lakecia Carter, PMP

Do you remember how It feels to start a new project? New faces, new places, new issues, new challenges! Change is a good thing, right? So, why do we get that nervous feeling?  Why do we second-guess our every thought, word or action? This familiar feeling is alive and well, whether it’s the first project or millionth project. We call this period of time “ramp-up” but sometimes it may feel as though we are on the ramp downward! No matter what experience level we are on, we all can get this feeling from time to time. Remember these back-to-basics tips to help get you moving:

Focus on what you know, not what you don’t know. It’s intimidating to come onto a project that’s already in-flight because you feel as though you are behind the eight ball. Everyone who’s been around knows more than you and they have all the answers, right? Wrong. Your fresh perspective is valuable. Be confident in your skills and ability to get the job done.

Be curious about everything. Being new to the project gives you an excuse to questions without feeling guilty. No one can say, “You should know that!”. Observe and learn as much about the individual team players and the group dynamics.  The more neutrality and unbiased perspective you bring, the better.

Take your time and learn the “right” ropes. Relationships and communication are the right ropes. Cultivate healthy strategic relationships and build them over time. Communicate effectively at all levels. It won’t happen overnight, but the fruits and rewards from these relationships will outlive the project.

When entering a new project, remember two truths about that nagging nervous feeling:  It is normal and it is temporary.  Each day, you will get better at it and your confidence will grow. You will go from ramp-up to putting the ramp up for good!

Please share any of your ramp-up tips. We all need them!


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