05/02/2023

My First 6 Months in Project Management

I’ve been documenting my journey of becoming a working adult. I’ve learned a lot in the last 6 months about project management, and I think those lessons translate to anyone trying to figure out a new job and this new phase of life!

Diving into this New Chapter 

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working as a production assistant for the past six months. Time really does fly by when you’re busy learning new things every day. When I first started, I was filled with fear and excitement; however, looking back on these past six months, I can confidently say that I’ve grown both professionally and personally.

One of the things that I love about my job is that every day is different. I’m constantly working on new projects and with different clients which keeps things interesting and challenging. 

In my first few weeks, I really eased into my responsibilities and where I fit in at work. Here’s what I learned in a nutshell. 

  1. Get to know the lingo
    Most of this time was spent learning the abbreviations, lingo, and technology I’d be interacting with daily. I kept a running list of things I heard in meetings and made sure to look them up later to familiarize myself with the concepts. 
  2. Mistakes help you learn
    The largest obstacle for me was working through the fear of messing up. I have always been a person who strives to do my best, so making mistakes in a new job was not ideal, however, making mistakes is really the only way to learn.
  3. Ask questions early
    I learned to ask as many questions as possible no matter how annoying I felt I was being; asking for advice helped me minimize my mistakes and make the necessary changes beforehand. Fortunately, I work with a great team who took the time to explain everything to me and answer all of my questions. (Side note – if that’s not your experience, you might want to look for a new job!)
  4. Jump in with both feet
    I also started to get involved in some of the tasks and projects they were working on, which helped me learn even more. I was able to observe how they communicated with clients, how they managed tasks and timelines, and how they problem-solved when issues arose.

Getting Deeper into Project Management

As I became more comfortable with my role, I started to take on more responsibilities. This included organizing schedules, building out tasks, and helping manage priorities. I was also given the chance to take on smaller projects on my own, such as assisting with social media. It was very fulfilling to see the work that I contributed come to life and be successful.

As I’ve gotten into the next level of project management, there’s a whole new level of complexity as well. Getting deeper meant leaning into and developing even more skills. 

Juggling Schedules and Priorities

Of course, there were also some challenges that I faced along the way. One of the biggest challenges was learning how to juggle multiple projects at once. In this field, deadlines are crucial, and it can be overwhelming to manage different timelines and priorities. However, my co-workers always offered guidance and support, and I learned how to prioritize my tasks and stay organized. 

Here are two tips that help me:

  1. When prioritizing tasks within a project, take the time to understand the project as a whole and the desired end result.
  2. I’ve also caught on to when my team members work best and try to schedule out tasks around this knowledge. 

Crystal Clear Communication

Beyond finding my role within the team, learning how to communicate effectively with clients was also challenging. As a production assistant, I often serve as the liaison between our team and the client, so conveying information clearly and professionally is important. I had to learn how to listen carefully to client feedback and concerns, and then communicate those concerns to my team in a way that was constructive and actionable.

Here are a couple things I’ve learned so far: 

  • It’s important to communicate early on expectations and who is responsible for delivering what as you’re going into a project. Doing this right away will alleviate potential confusion in the long run. 
  • Another tip is to always be positive and professional when communicating with team members and clients, especially in challenging situations. 

Get Ready to Grow

Despite these challenges – and perhaps even thanks to them – I feel like I’ve grown tremendously in my role as a production assistant; I’ve learned valuable skills such as time management, communication, and problem-solving, all of which will be useful going forward in life. One tip to help focus on your development and progress as a project manager is to set professional goals for yourself and have the plan to achieve them. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people who have inspired me and taught me so much.

Impact Feels Great. Learn (and Keep Learning) to Contribute

Looking ahead, I’m excited to continue growing and learning in my role. I’m hoping to take on even more responsibility and make a larger impact within the company. By leaning into the skills I’ve been developing and tuning in to what really matters to the organization, I can make that hope a reality. 

My first six months as a production assistant have been both challenging and rewarding, two things I have come to find cannot exist without one another. I’ve learned so much, and I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had. To anyone considering a career in project management, I would say go for it! It’s a fast-paced and exciting field that’s always evolving, and there’s always room to learn and grow.

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