6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–The Project Manager’s Sphere of Influence (2)

I am starting a project of going through the 6th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide and blogging about its contents.    The 6th Edition was released on September 22nd by the Project Management Institute, and the third chapter discusses the role of the project manager.

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post, which discussed ways in which a project manager can increase his or her sphere of influence when it comes to vertical relationships, that is, relationships to subordinates (project team members) or to those you directly report to in the organization (sponsor, upper management).   In this post, I wanted to talk about interacting in horizontal relationships, that is, with other project managers.


One way to increase one’s sphere of influence is to advance the efficacy of the PMO in one’s organization.   This will have one interacting with other peers and trying to see things from their viewpoint.   For example, if you have a Cost Performance Index or CPI of 2.0 on your project, this means that for every dollar you were given, you got twice as much work out of that dollar that was planned for.   You may think that makes you a hero for using only half the resources you were given, but from a program manager’s standpoint, this presents a problem:   somehow your project took twice as many resources as you actually needed that have been allocated to your project and may be needed for others that are in the same program.    So understanding the project from the program manager’s viewpoint in terms of how resources are shared between projects will help your relationship that with individual tremendously.


Of course, the way to get to network with other project managers who are not in your organization is to join the local chapter of the Project Management Institute.   Your monthly chapter meetings will usually have a guest speaker who has been chosen to present a topic on the cutting edge of the profession.   This plus the opportunities to get to know your peers on a professional and even a personal level makes it a great opportunity to expand your sphere of influence outside of your company.


Now this option was not mentioned by PMI at all, but I wanted to include it because it has been helpful for me.   I came to Chicago in 2013 after having decided to become a project manager.   When I joined the local Chicagoland chapter of PMI, I went to a local chapter dinner meeting where I met the VP of Education, Ravi Avasarala.   He was looking for someone to take on the role as Director of Certification and I told him I had assisted the Director back in Orange County, California, to put on the PMP exam prep class sponsored by the chapter.   This led to my not only becoming a Director, but assisting on special projects for the chapter such as putting on the PM Symposium in 2013 and 2014, in the first year as a project manager handling speakers, and then a program manager overseeing the entire event.   That got me the attention of Amy Martin, the VP of Business Outreach, who was looking for a volunteer to be the Director of the Executive Council, and to assist with the annual Leadership Forum in 2016 and 2017.   All of these projects have given me enough experience hours to apply for the PMP exam when the new one becomes available next April!

Another opportunity I was given by Amy Martin was to put me in contact with PMI Global, who asked me to help coordinate volunteers from our local PMI chapter for the PMI Global Conference which takes place in Chicago this year.   Since I was also a Distinguished Toastmaster, they also asked me to get volunteers who were in both the PMI Chicagoland chapter and the local PMI Toastmasters Club to assist at the global conference to help speakers who were doing their first speech on the global stage.   In fact, in about 15 minutes, after I finish this post, I will going to the PMI Global Conference  here in Chicago as a volunteer–an opportunity I never would have had if I hadn’t been so eager to volunteer way back when I first started as a PMI local chapter member a few years back.  So if you REALLY want to increase your influence as a project manager, give to your local chapter not just by paying a membership fee, but by donating your time as a volunteer.  You will get back paid many times over in terms of the opportunities for your career that will open up!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: