Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Project Management roles are estimated to increase 33% by 2027.

Join Isaiah and Orly Levitan as they discuss 9 recession proof project management skills and tools.

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah discusses what is project management and why PhDs are perfect for this career.  
  • Then, Isaiah and Orly talk about the skills you need to get a project management position.
  • Finally, Isaiah and Orly share the top tools project managers are using today.

From This Week’s Show…

What is Project Management?

Today we are talking about the nine recession proof, project management skills and tools to save your PhD career with a senior industry project manager, Orly Levitan. 

And then there is a really big aspect that we don’t encounter so much in academia is managing people.

Being able to manage a project in academia does not necessarily mean you can manage a project in industry.

This [project management]  is a great transition point. Not just because you can get into any career path after being a project manager, it’s literally the one role that requires the skills required for every other role in industry. 

It’s also in very high demand; 33% worldwide increase in project  management positions by 2027.

They [companies] have resources and they want to know that they manage them correctly. So, when you invest in project management,  you’re supposed to be investing in protecting the resources of the company.

Just having a company being managed well requires people that understand how projects are managed, even in R&D and upper management.

So you do need to hold on to the deadline. 

When you go to industry, even when you come from a rich lab, you go to industry it’s many more millions.

When you’re applying and you can’t mentally work within a framework of hundreds of millions or billions, if you’re trying to get a job at Pfizer or other larger company, you’re going to struggle, and nobody’s going to want to put you in charge of those resources.

Project Management Skills And Tools

It starts in the initiation phase and then we go into the planning phase, where we actually plan the entire project that ends with the signed and approved statement of work. Then we go through the execution phase where we actually start with building the project, making the project, having all the deliverables, and then this ends with something that we give, like a deliverable.

Projects fail because people are focusing on details rather than on value.

Risk management is like a muscle when you get used to managing risks continuously, when you keep training, you get to know risk management; it becomes an instinct.

Sometimes for a project management position, you would be given a scenario and they’re going to ask you, “how are you going to manage change to this project?” So you would need to have two or three solutions or possible outcomes for each change that you would be facing during the simulation.

Now there are very few companies that are completely waterfall and there are very few companies that are completely agile. 

The thing with waterfall is that you can never go back. It’s more definitive.

Agile was made to combat not being able to go up the waterfall. It had to be more flexible. It had to be more circular. The goal is to get feedback faster. 

With agile, things are more defined because the deliverables are smaller and shorter very often, but there are continuous iterations of redefining the requirements. You’re more in touch with the stakeholders. 

A burnout chart is also a very good way to see how your project is actually moving along and it has to do with the tasks more than with the time being spent because it really checks more what you accomplish, rather what you put into the project.

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

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