A subject of learning project management returns here periodically. When discussing this kind of issues I tend to share some raw ideas everyone has to adjust to their specific situation before applying. But today I have a complete recipe for those struggling with gathering first experience in project management.
Of course a starting point here will be Scott Berkun’s: go run a project. And I do have a great idea for a project…
For those of you who are aware what TED and TEDx are please skip next two paragraphs. For the rest of you, read on.
TED is a conference which gathers top-notch leaders and speakers from wide variety of disciplines to deliver short (not longer than 18-minute long) presentations which have one common point: they are all about ideas worth spreading. Average TED speech can be pretty much about anything but it definitely is remarkable. Among TED speakers you can find Bill Gates, Bono, Bill Clinton and others whose names start on a letter B. Um… actually they do have speakers with names starting on other letters too.
TEDx events are local conferences, made on TED license and following the same principles. All over the world groups of people, who are independent of TED, organize TED-like events to enable spreading ideas. As TEDx events are non-profit none of these people is getting paid, even though organizing a conference isn’t that easy after all. Especially when you aim at quality of even like original TED.
And that’s where we come back to the story about learning project management. Organizing a conference is quite a project. Actually I joined organizers of TEDxKrakow so I can assure you it is a project and a pretty difficult one.
For none of us it is a daily job so we spend a lot of our free time trying to put thing together. Since we also happen to have jobs which pay the rent there are a lot external difficulties making it harder to fulfill promises we make in front of the team. We are spread all over the city, all over the world actually, so we face communication issues. There are all sorts of people so misunderstandings are something to be expected. And you know what? We could still use every reliable pair of helping hands we could get. Sounds pretty much like a definition of a typical project if you ask me.
So if you still think about learning project management, forget all those certificates and find local TEDx (or similar) event. I promise organizers would greet you warmly and if you prove you can be counted on, you’ll be considered as very valuable team member. Did I mention specific skills you need to have? No, because there are none.
Now, you won’t learn about Gantt charts, project plans or budgeting. What you’d learn instead is how really projects look like. It will be much more valuable experience.
I hope I convinced you, but before you go to look for your local TEDx event, help us with the one I used as example – TEDxKrakow. Share the news about possibly the best conference in Krakow this year. We already have a diplomat, researcher, educator, entrepreneurs, organic food exponent and a couple of performers in our lineup but that’s definitely not all. TEDx conferences are nothing like single-industry events but that’s actually the best part of TEDx.
And if you are able to join us in Krakow on Oct 15, the registration is open. We want to have great audience so we need you.