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Project Management Metrics with Anita Sagar

“An important PM skill is to be able to facilitate conversations around business value in order to strategize and look at outcomes.”

Goals. We all have them. Or at least we should. In the world of project management, goals manifest in different ways. As project managers we are often mired in goals of all types: organizations, project, and even personal goals that help to guide us. 

But how are we setting and managing goals to get the most out of every aspect of our work? 

In this episode of Time Limit, Brett sits down with agile consultant Anita Sagar to discuss project goals and professional goals. The conversation focuses on the project management mindset around goals, and how to shift project metrics from outputs to outcomes, and how to tie those outcomes to your overall success and career trajectory. This information-filled conversation covers:

  • How organizations set, document, and communicate project goals 
  • How PM is a strategic role
  • The value of revisiting goals mid-project
  • How to focus on goals vs. outputs
  • Focusing on quality rather than quantity
  • How to discuss outcomes and get more out of retrospectives
  • How to quantify your skillset as a PM and advance your career
  • The value of certifications

About our guest

Guest

Anita Sagar
Agile Consultant, Enterprise Knowledge, LLC

Anita Sagar is an agile consultant at Enterprise Knowledge, LLC, a consulting firm focused on leveraging agile practices for delivering knowledge and information solutions. As a certified Scrum Master and Agile Coach, she works with both government and commercial organizations to help increase their agility through collaboration and coaching. Skilled in risk management, data analysis and assessment, and strategic planning, she is known for leading successful change in underperforming projects, building credibility with project stakeholders, and bridging the gap between business and technology.  

As a former teacher, she enjoys working at the intersection of agile and education and growing teams to deliver strategic business solutions.

Episode Transcript

Transcript

Brett Harned:                                          Hey, welcome to Time Limit. Today, we're talking all about the goals and metrics that project managers can use to guide project and even professional success. Now, that's a pretty big topic or really it's kind of two topics that are sort of related. The good part is that my friend Anita Sagar is in the perfect position to address this topic. Anita is an agile consultant at Enterprise Knowledge, which is a consulting firm focused on leveraging agile practices for delivering knowledge and information solutions. Anita has some really great advice on how to shift project metrics to focus on outcomes rather than outputs, which I think will get you thinking strategically right away. She's also got some really great career advice to get you focused on being a great project leader. Check out the conversation.
                                                      Anita Sagar, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?

Anita Sagar:                                           I'm doing great. How are you, Brett?

Brett Harned:                                          I'm doing well, thanks. I'm so glad that you joined me. I'm really excited to dig in on your session topic, basically, for the Digital PM Summit. It's all about metrics that PMs can use to guide project and professional success. Is this a topic that you've been kind of thinking about and working on for a while? Or how did it come to you?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. I think that one of the, it started to really come to me because the work that I do is with a lot of clients. And a lot of times clients are really just thinking about the project itself and how the project can be a success. And I have to kind of drive the conversation into looking at the business values or really looking at the outcomes of a project. And then it actually has changed many conversations from what they originally wanted the project to be to something a little bit different. And I realized that this is actually a big component of project management, especially as you go deeper and deeper and higher and higher into project management, those strategic conversations are something we should all be having.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, absolutely. All right. Let's start kind of high level, so we can do a little bit of education about metrics and defining success and then talk about project metrics. And then, if it's okay with you, I'd like to talk a little bit about strategies some project managers might find valuable when it comes to kind of measuring their own success in their careers and in their roles, because I kind of feel like we don't get much of that. I know in my PM career, I felt like I was always kind of just measured on if a project was successfully delivered or not. And I feel like there's a lot more to being successful as a PM. I want to give people a little bit of that if it's okay with you.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, absolutely. That's actually something I've been thinking about quite a bit as well.

Brett Harned:                                          Awesome. Okay, cool. Let's start at the top then. I guess, in terms of general, I guess, industry standards, if that makes sense, how are you seeing organizations define success metrics on the project level?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, I think one of the main things that I tend to see, especially in agile projects, are we meeting the features? Or meeting the feature components like acceptance criteria or definition of done, just kind of keeping it at that level. I think at a slightly higher level, it's mostly about launching a service or product, building that MVP or shipping the product. And also you'll see people really start measuring profit margins if the product or project is really supposed to bring that in. But that's where I'm really seeing things kind of stop amongst those four major criteria.

Brett Harned:                                          And so it sounds like it's almost like the PM is rolling up to almost a business objective. Something that's potentially determined at the executive level in an organization, is that right?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. I do think there is a component to obviously many projects are undertaken for a particular reason and that reason is usually kind of this overarching, hey, we need this project done because we need to ship this product into the public. But it doesn't go much deeper than that. And sometimes PMs don't always think beyond that, into how it'll affect the business. And to be honest, even stakeholders don't think beyond that sometimes.

Brett Harned:                                          Right. It's kind of like, well, we have already determined that this project is valuable or viable so we are going to just focus on delivering what we can within this project.

Anita Sagar:                                           Exactly. And versus how can we be viable and profitable and why? Not just it is.

Brett Harned:                                          Okay. Have you ever kind of seen, I guess it's a metric or even goals revisited after a project's already underway, you're halfway through a project and you realize, oh, we could actually accomplish something else with this.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. I do oftentimes. I don't really often see them getting revisited, which I think in and of itself is an issue. Oftentimes we both know that the goal of the project kind of tends to miss the mark when it's, for lack of a better word, kind of shallow and we don't think about it in a deeper way. We usually say, kind of what does this project do? Versus so it's more output related versus the value of the actual project or the outcome. Within the ecosystem of our company, where does this project lie? What other projects or systems will it affect? And how will this affect the organization or the business unit?
                                                      And the fact that we don't revisit these things becomes a problem because then the conversation just kind of gets siloed a little bit into kind of what is output? What is the best success metric for this project? And don't revisit it, is just a huge problem. But I also think that there's just so many factors in project management that also hinder us from revisiting things, which is the timeline, the budget. There's always these conflicting stakeholder opinions. And so sometimes we just kind of think about the project at its forefront and sometimes revisiting an outcome can become even more convoluted than we think.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. let's face it, as a PM, the idea of revisiting and lengthening your project and bringing up more issues is a little scary. You kind of sometimes put blinders on.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, talk to me, I'm guilty of doing that.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. That's interesting. I had a conversation with Yoon Chung from Veritas on Time Limit, I think an episode or two back and the conversation is all about strategic decision making. And we talked a lot about just how PMs can be more strategic. And I think what we're talking about is why? What holds us back from being strategic? My point of view is, I would love to see more project managers recognize that PM is a strategic role and maybe stopping and pulling those blinders off is a good idea. Even if it does mean a little bit of added chaos for your day to day and in your projects, how do you feel about that?

Anita Sagar:                                           Well, and this is something that I've been talking to about my colleagues, because sometimes I wonder if yes, I do believe that PMs should be more strategic, but I wonder if part of that is sometimes the role that they have within a company. Maybe their role isn't a strategic role. Maybe they're just kind of given a project and they're, go forth and complete it. Versus being brought in during the business strategy sessions to be able to have that voice. And if a PM is not comfortable with that, are we really fostering that within our PMs? I don't know.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. Basically what you're saying is, yeah, it would be great if we could, it does depend on the role because the PM role is let's face it, it's different in basically every organization. Of course there are common themes, but what we do in organizations can vary from place to place. But just this general idea of you do have some control of that strategy. It's kind of a nice feeling and I do think that it helps you to motivate a team to deliver on kind of what those goals are when you're thinking about those goals and putting them at the forefront of the conversation.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, Totally.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah, but I'm with you, it's a nice thing to say and think about, it's not always achievable for everyone. But it's something to strive for.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, I think the reason why I've been thinking about it is my company Enterprise Knowledge has done a very good job of really bringing me and other people into those earlier conversations. We do become very successful in our project management because we are in those earlier conversations and we do have the leeway and the voice to kind of help set that strategic direction with a product or project that we're working on and really have those connections with the product owner on the client side as well, to really help them shape what they want this to look like. And I think that it's so important to have that ability within your company to be able to do that because I myself, in other companies have not felt that I had that voice and now I very much do.

Brett Harned:                                          Right. Okay. Let's kind of, let's move on a little bit. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on what are the best ways to document goals and then to communicate them with the team? Because before I was talking about kind of making those goals the forefront of what you're doing. What are some tips you have there?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. I think one of the best things that we have done is we have for lack of a better word, almost a cheat sheet and I can share something similar with you, Brett, that I keep for myself as well. Where we kind of look at the business values. A lot of times you can get in proposals if you're working with clients or even internally talking with stakeholders, if it's an internal project, but kind of facilitating that conversation, which as an aside is also an important PM skill is to be able to facilitate conversations around business value in order to strategize and look at outcomes. But really being able to measure your outcomes based on business value and then taking those outcomes and kind of making them into measurable outputs. How do I measure this business value as a success metric?
                                                      And I think that really writing it down has helped me in being able to understand what the ultimate goal is and what my short term goals are. And then one thing that EK does really well is we have, for almost every client, we always have an internal kickoff where the entire team is kind of briefed on what are the larger goals of this organization? Or what is it that we want to do? And I think that really helps set the stage for us to make sure that we're really delivering value.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely. I kind of want to take that a little, a step further because I love that idea of a cheat sheet, using something to kind of document goals in a kind of a repeatable way, an expected way for team members and then kind of engaging everyone at a kickoff. Do you have any tips for once those things are documented and you've put them out there at the very beginning of the project, sometimes they can kind of fade to the back when you get deep into work. What do you do as a PM to keep those things at the forefront of the discussion of your project?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, I think, and this is more of a heavy lift on a PM, but it's something that I find very important is when I have that cheat sheet in front of me and I'm looking at business values and I'm creating, if I'm doing an agile project and I'm creating stories for a particular product, I need to make sure that each of the features somehow map back to an objective that eventually maps back to an outcome because I don't like teams building things that don't somehow have an outcome, even if it's direct or indirect, if it doesn't map back to an outcome, why are we building it? We need to have an answer as to why we're building something regardless of how big or small that feature is.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. I love that. Yeah. I think that's kind of where I was headed with this line of questioning because I guess in my experience as a PM and a lot of projects I've worked on, the focus on the goals has been a lot about we're going to create this thing versus we're going to deliver on a promise or an actual metric. And that metric could be anything from conversion rates to views, to overall customer satisfaction or something like that. But I'm thinking that's because sometimes it can be difficult to come up with metrics that feel reasonable or achievable. We've all set goals that feel like, oh my gosh, we're never going to get there. And then that's just demotivating, especially if you're kind of working on a project that could impact a lot of areas within a business. Do you have any advice on looking at those goals or setting good goals that really focus on outcomes that kind of drive a team to meet those outcomes and metrics?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. I know that that's very overwhelming, especially when you get these huge products. I've been working a lot on different products versus just the traditional project. That's why I keep mentioning product groups.

Brett Harned:                                          Cool.

Anita Sagar:                                           It's really fun when we touch a lot of different areas, but I think one of the things is we can make a goal, a smart goal. That's an easy way for us to make something measurable. But what happens is, we'll say something like 80% increase in revenue or something, or productivity and then we're looking at each of these speeches and we're like, oh my gosh, is this going to become 80%? Are we doing the right thing? I think one of my pieces of advice here is to really understand, as long as it's positively affecting your ultimate goal, it's okay to take those baby steps to build it. Nothing is going to just suddenly give you an 80% outcome. It's all the little, little steps that build into that 80% outcome. And I think that the objectives can be very daunting if you don't quite realize that as long as you keep mapping yourself back, you're looking at a good trajectory in terms of meeting your objectives and ultimately your outcomes.

Brett Harned:                                          Okay. Yeah. I like the idea of baby steps and baby steps towards goals. And I've even been on projects where a goal kind of comes up secondarily. You're working through something and you're like, oh, you know what? We could actually accomplish this by doing this thing as well. Let's keep track of that. Is that okay to do?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. You know what? I've been on numerous projects where we'll all be talking and be like, "Oh, you know what? This really also affects, I don't know, return on investment or something like that." I don't know what it is. And I don't think that if it enhances your ultimate outcome, I personally don't find a particular, any huge issue with it. But I think there's always an issue as to if you had a goal in the beginning and you totally divert from it because then the product or project itself has the ability to then divert itself in what we're building or the project that we're undertaking. I think if you're enhancing your okay, but you're leading, you're going down the same path, but if you're totally changing the goal, that's when you need help.

Brett Harned:                                          Okay. All right. We've talked about kind of high level project goals and kind of the PM's role in that. I'm wondering if you think it makes sense for a project manager to have kind of output goals when it comes to managing the project and the overarching kind of goals? Just to kind of keep the team on target or do you think that confuses things? Is that goal overload to say, "We're going to meet these high level business goals, but also we're going to have this output goal on what we do week over week or month by month."

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, I think that kind of agile practices, scrum practices, excuse me. And sometimes even compound practices obviously with WIP limits and everything kind of has your builtin goals. Your sprinkle or we want to get this many stories through or whatnot. But I do believe, I have been in a position where I've been, okay, we definitely need to get this many stories through. And I think that goal is a little difficult for some people and adds a lot of stress. I would rather them give me quality work and with a quality team than just worry about did my numbers go through. And obviously as a PM, it's our job to maybe set something in our minds, but I don't know. I think it really depends on the circumstance as to whether you want to verbalize that to other people, to your team, especially as a PM, it's your job to know the nuances of who your team is. And some people just don't work near that pressure.

Brett Harned:                                          Totally. And I guess also within a more agile process-like scrum, you're really determining those output goals when you're determining what will be accomplished in the sprint. There's enough kind of pressure wrapped up in that, even if it is kind of flexible.

Anita Sagar:                                           Exactly. And so it's that personally, I don't know if I would like to add that added pressure. I know some PMs do and that's up to them. Maybe that's something their team enjoys, but the teams that I've worked with, they produce such quality work that why add that quantity on top of it? Unless there's some major deadlines that we have to meet.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. I'm with you. I think you and I are probably similar in terms of our style of project management. It's more about the people. Why overwhelm people with goals that can feel arbitrary as long as things are on track overall with the project?

Anita Sagar:                                           Exactly.

Brett Harned:                                          One of the things that you mentioned that I want to dig in on for a second is definition of done and you hear that term often, particularly in agile methodologies. Can you talk a little bit about definition of done and how you use it on projects?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, I use it. There's always so much debate about acceptance criteria and definition of done. I feel like because everyone uses it for different things. For me, acceptance criteria as if more of the functional criteria that needs to be met for a particular feature. And then definition of done, I consider that more as is the feature integrated with the larger project or the ecosystem or is it like truly considered done in that it is it enhancing the project versus just a siloed feature that's completed? Does that make sense?

Brett Harned:                                          It does make sense. Thank you.

Anita Sagar:                                           Oh yeah, no problem. I always have like a weird time explaining definition of done because so many people think of it in so many different ways and this is just my specific way that I like to explain it. More importantly, I do think that because people mix up acceptance criteria and definition of done, a lot of people think that when a feature may be just completed, it is done. And some people measure output as to how many features are completed. But that's not finished, that's not a success metric. Has it been into the larger product that we're building? Is that product going to eventually that we're building, going to meet the outcomes that we need? That's my definition.

Brett Harned:                                          That makes sense. Yeah because the tactics of how you meet that goal can change over the course of a project, especially when you're running a more agile methodology and things can be more flexible and iterative. That definitely makes sense to me.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. And I actually write, in one of my blogs, I'm like, we're building complex living systems that need to be constantly managed, optimized, pruned and refined. And the number of features that we ship is pretty much irrelevant. The impact of the product, the entire product and the impact that it has on customers is a far better indicator of customer value or of a success metric. For me, that is more of that definition of done.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely. Let's fast forward to the end of a project, everything's wrapped up and your team feels good about it, but you probably have to review. Whether you do a retrospective or people do postmortems. Do you ever recommend any kind of final review or discussion of the goals after the project's wrapped up? What are the best ways I guess, to check off the box that basically determines if you've met the goal or the project was a success in some kind of more formalized way?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, I think, so I feel like all of us are kind of seasoned to run different retrospectives. We have plenty of resources online to pick from, but I really think that retrospectives when you're looking at outcomes and outputs kind of need to change to a different conversation because I think what happens is with retrospectives, we really get into did we run the sprint well? What were the key issues with this project? Or whatnot. And I really think that when we change that focus to business value and looking at the questions on business value, did we provide them a way to get their productivity up? Where was a problem feature that we may, or may not, we should have pushed back on? Or something like that. I think those are conversations that kind of really result in future products being even better and more in line with what our clients or internal teams need.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely. I'm a big fan of the retrospective. Just curious at a high level, how do you run a retrospective? What are the main kind of agenda points in the retrospectives that you run?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. I tend to run them. Well I've been working with my teams for quite a while now. We're a little less formal, but I really think that that's being that we know each other really well and how we work. Really, we talk about the good things that are happening. I always, I know it's small but I do think it's important to start with accolades and just good things that have happened. And then we kind of talk a little bit about just how we've run the project. And I think that's really important just because it also helps me as a PM kind of catch pitfalls that I need to catch in order to just better run the next project. But more importantly, I think it's really important to look at the ultimate goal for a particular client or internal team or internal project and see if we've met it. And I think the big bulk of it really rests on that.

Brett Harned:                                          Okay, cool.

Anita Sagar:                                           It's a little weird, not weird. I don't want to say like that. It's a little difficult of a conversation to have at first because teams aren't always used to having that conversation, but then as you continue doing it, it becomes much easier to throw your focus into having that kind of conversation.

Brett Harned:                                          For sure. And I think the interesting thing that you're talking about here is that kind of comes back to what we were talking about in the beginning of this conversation about PMs being more strategic. And I think that when you can get to a place with a team where things are comfortable and you can talk about things in an open way, you can really become a more strategic, just kind of as a byproduct, because you're able to think through the personalities on your team, the tasks that are coming due, the overall business goals and find a clear path to meeting those goals with all of those factors kind of in play.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. And I think that one of the difficult things about retrospectives is that we kind of run them in a very sterile way. Especially if we don't know the team that well, but and I think that as a PM, the more retrospectives you run with your particular teams, the more you're going to get more information out of it and the more you can have much more difficult conversations, that's just not going to end with a room in silence.

Brett Harned:                                          Right. Well, yeah. And I think you nailed it by saying, we like to talk about the accolades and the good things first because that stuff loosens everyone up and gets everyone excited and charged up about the project and what's going well, it also makes the difficult conversation, just a tad easier.

Anita Sagar:                                           Exactly. Or you can do it during happy hour. I feel like you could get same.

Brett Harned:                                          This is true. This is true. Yeah. Let's talk for a few minutes about the kind of personal professional goals for project managers. I'm curious, what do you see as smart, reasonable goals for PMs? What have you seen in your career? What seems to kind of work well?

Anita Sagar:                                           It's actually interesting because one of the things that I got a lot of pushback on when I was job hunting back in the day is that my resume was very built around my responsibilities as a PM. It almost looked like a JD, like a job description. And a lot of people who look at my resume would say, "Yeah, but what have you done?" And so that made me realize how much even our jobs are really so much based on what outcomes have we done? I've kind of changed to looking at is my success metric as a PM, is kind of what value did I add to this project in terms of giving them their success metric and their business value? What have I done for this particular team? Versus yeah, I run sprints and I've done X, Y, and Z and that's all great, but so does every other PM. And I think changing your mindset to that also changes how you run.

Brett Harned:                                          And it helps you to answer that question, what have you done? Or what do you do? Because so many people don't even know what a PM does. Even people within organizations don't understand what project management is there for. If you can bring as a PM, if you can bring that kind of level of what value have I added to this project? You can communicate that out in an organization and people will start to see the value of the role. And I think that's so powerful. I'm so glad that you brought that up.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, yeah, no, I definitely realized. And here's the other thing, Brett, and I think it varies with different PMs. Because some of the younger PM's who are just getting into the game of PMing is they're just really kind of, hey, these are the great things that I have done generically. And then, but as you get older, as you get more into it, as companies really look to you to be a senior person, they're not looking for your responsibilities, they're looking at how can we get the best return on our investment to hire you to run our teams? And I think, yeah, that's the most, it changes as time goes on, but it should be at the forefront of every PM's mind, whether you're new or old, obviously. Older veteran, I don't want to say old.

Brett Harned:                                          It sounds like you're kind of saying, it's always going to come down to the bottom line and how a PM can contribute to overall profitability. Is that right?

Anita Sagar:                                           I think part of the thing that we face is that many people are like, why should we hire a PM? We're already agile? Or why should we do this? Or what's the value here? And I think that, I've heard that so many times in my career and all we can do is kind of just, we're just oh my gosh, if you don't hire a PM for this project, it's going to be a disaster. But we kind of have that extra job in showing them our effort as to why to hire us and versus maybe a developer or somebody who has a skillset. And I think that looking at projects in this way allows you to even have that conversation in interviews about why it's so important to hire you as a part of their team.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely. And I think this is kind of a little bit of a tangent, but I think this is a good conversation to have. And one that a lot of people I think have in the back of their minds, because if they're not immediately seeing the value of PM, they're putting all of the work and responsibility of a PM on someone who's really there to deliver. And so it's basically adding a whole other role and set of really responsibilities and specialization on someone who might not be suited to it. I think finding that value and as PMs, figuring out what your value is, acting on it and then really kind of evangelizing it and in organization in some way is so powerful and it will make an organization stronger. Do you agree with that?

Anita Sagar:                                           I totally agree with that. I think a lot of people don't quite understand the skillset that is needed to be a PM and all of what we do. And I think that, it's part of our job to also, like you said, evangelize what it is that we do and why it's so important for us to be around. And even though we won't deliver code, I think we need to be able to say, "Hey, I do X, Y and Z and I'll do it for you and these are the outcomes that I've had in the past. It would be big messed up on your part, not to bring me in."

Brett Harned:                                          Yep. And I think a big, it's easy for you and I to say that, because we've got more experience in the game of PM. Yeah. It's and it's taken a long time to get there. This is not easy. It's not easy to prove your worth and prove your value. And it's also taxing just as a human being. You feel like if people don't feel like you necessarily have a reason to be in a place and proving why you need to be in a place, that's rough. And I feel for people who are in that situation and I've certainly been in that situation and you've got to be willing to kind of fight for it. And I think you've got to be willing to better yourself. I'm wondering if you have any kind of tips or reading or training that people should do to kind of further themselves within project management, if that's really their career path.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. I think one piece of advice, because I do a lot of work with some of the younger PMs outside of EK or just mentoring and stuff like that. And I think that's something that's very one that I feel I say often is one, just because you have a certification does not mean that I would hire you because pp are like, oh, well I have a CSM and I have PMP. Okay, great. But if you have no practical knowledge of application, that's not going to help me at all. Because a PMP is just a standard, but how to apply it to a KM project versus some other waterfall project in healthcare or something is going to be completely different.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely, yeah.

Anita Sagar:                                           And I think that a lot of young PMs sometimes feel that you can just get a certification and that should kind of cover your bases. But we live in a certification driven world. At this point, I don't know how much cert. Certifications will always matter because people tend to look for those regardless. But when they're really doing some strategic hiring, certifications is just one component. It's not the end all be all. And I think that's a piece of advice that I feel I'm saying over and over and over again.

Brett Harned:                                          Yeah. I agree with you. It's like a book smart versus street smart. As a PM, you need both. You can't just come into it and say, "Well, I have my certification. I've put all of these hours into studying." Guess what? So has everyone else through whatever education they've done. Just because you have three letters at the end of your name, doesn't really mean that much to me.

Anita Sagar:                                           Exactly. Exactly. And in interviews, people will catch very quickly, how much practical experience that you have. And sometimes you cannot dig yourself out of that hole and then what happens?

Brett Harned:                                          Right. Oh boy, that is a whole other topic that I would love to continue with you at some point, because I think we share some points of view there and experience as well.

Anita Sagar:                                           That'll be my next one, Brett.

Brett Harned:                                          Definitely. Are certifications worth it. People would love that because we're not saying that they're not. That is an important thing to say is it's not that they're not worth it. It's the practicality of putting that certification into play and being able to break what they've taught you at points, because you're going to have to.

Anita Sagar:                                           I also think certifications, speaking to the whole is it worth it? It's it will get your foot in the door.

Brett Harned:                                          For sure.

Anita Sagar:                                           It will let you put your foot right into that door because if I'm looking for that, I tend to, I will skim your resume for that cert, but it definitely, but then I'll ask you a bunch of questions. When I do hiring on my end, I'll ask a bunch of questions obviously related and that's when people get trapped.

Brett Harned:                                          Right. All right, last question. My last question on the podcast is always kind of keeping with the theme or title of the show, which is Time Limit. I'm wondering if you've got any recommendations for kind of light, easy ways for PMs to establish goals when they're stretched for time? We know that PMs are often in an agile world, probably not working on more than one project, but in typical PM fashion, I think that rule is broken and you're stretched for time because you're working across projects and teams and responsibilities. Any easy ways for PMs to establish goals when they're stretched for time?

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah. I think that our duty is always to our teams first. My goal, if I have different goals that I'm looking at, I am always wanting to make sure the health of my team and any accounts that I'm over, are the most important thing. That's first and foremost. If I can get past that and need to set a goal for myself, that would be the first goal for myself, excuse me. But then the next goal is I'll set something, maybe one goal that I know I can maintain or get to in about a week or two weeks time. And it can be something as easily as I'll update this spreadsheet or I will check in on every single one of my members or my team members, within a week or something like that. And even if it's something just as small as that, that I can attain in a week or two, that's you've already started helping yourself. I think that's the main thing.

Brett Harned:                                          I agree with that. I think it's nice to have a bunch of little wins, but also kind of what you're talking about is a goal to keep yourself accountable to being a good PM. And sometimes you need that because if you do want to focus on your team first and then a client or a stakeholder or even just a changing technology or thing in the project eats and zaps your time, you kind of start to slip from the things that you should be accountable to. I guess what I'm saying is, when you go in firefighting mode, those goals take a back seat. If you follow the advice that you just gave, many goals, those kinds of like micro goals will help you to stay really good and stay on top of your game. I think that's really great advice.

Anita Sagar:                                           Thank you. And I just think that a lot of times we do end up firefighting a little bit and that's kind of comes with our job. But I also think that being able to even check in. I know something that's important is checking in on team members or something like that is important because that kind of helps with the firefighting, just to kind of catch it a little earlier too. And I think that there's goals that you can even say, if you feel like you're getting overwhelmed with the firefighting, that will kind of help decrease the amount that you're kind of being reactive.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely.

Anita Sagar:                                           And I think that would be the goal.

Brett Harned:                                          Definitely. Well, Anita, thank you so much for joining me today. I really love this conversation. I hope that we can continue it sometime soon, but I think it's going to be a little while for you, so I won't bother you for at least the next nine months.

Anita Sagar:                                           Thank you.

Brett Harned:                                          All right.

Anita Sagar:                                           Yeah, yes. Thank you. And also, can I just say that Enterprise Knowledge is hiring a technical PM?

Brett Harned:                                          Oh yeah.

Anita Sagar:                                           DC area and yeah, we're looking for somebody. If you're in the DC area, well right now we're remote so I'm not sure what that looks like. But if you're in the DC area and you are open to looking for a technical PM type of position, please check out our website. It's enterprise-knowledge.com. Brett, I will also send you the link, so you have it as well.

Brett Harned:                                          Absolutely. Yeah. We'll put it in our show notes. Thank you so much.

Anita Sagar:                                           Thank you.

Brett Harned:                                          Have a great day.
                                                      All right. That's a wrap, folks. I hope that no matter what type of projects you work on or what methodology you use, you found some helpful advice in the episode to kind of help you get focused on achievable goals that will push your projects and your career forward. As always, I appreciate you listening to Time Limit. Don't forget, like, subscribe, share and rate the show where you listen to your podcasts. And if you've got any recommendations for future guests or topics, please send me a note. You can get to me at brett@teamgantt.com. Thanks.

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