What all project managers want project assistants to know

and are too shy or too “busy” to say. 
This text comes with No obligation to subscribe. From either side. These are based purely on my observations and project assistants’ feedback i got over years. 

We are Sorry for being plain ignorant about what you do. The systems you process payments in, the logs you enter data in, the time it takes for the next in line to process our requests etc. We may act as we know it though. Do not hesitate to tell us about the impact (ex ante please) of these on project activities. You may get us listening if you tell us that it takes more than 24 hours to get a contract processed and approved by people beyond your control. 

We value you as gate keepers. You let what is important to get in and keep the rest respectfully out. If you have doubts about what’s important, just ask. Same is valid for info flowing off the project office. You may become privy to many internal situations, which need to remain internal. E.g. a notification about a consultant’s contract termination, interview panel debates, tender boards discussions. 

We love to delegate. Even those who denied it, agree off the record. Projects are complex beasts so knowing that we can “eat an elephant a bite at a time” is relieving. If we do not communicate the level and extent of delegation in a clear, concise and compeling way, tell us. 

We trust you and rely on you. This is why highest ethical standads of professional behaviour are expected. In case of doubts and dilemmas, just ask. Ask your project manager or Human Resources. You are part of the team so your reputation is the team’s reputation. The opposite is equally true. You are entitled to demand highest ethical standards from us. 

You are a project assistant, not a personal assistant. It is therefore ok to say No to any personal requests such as “make me coffee”, “call me a taxi to take me somewhere personal”, “order flowers for my wife/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend//mother/lover” and other alike. “Please, can you order a taxi, for us to get on time to the meeting” is a project matter. 

We may get into tough love if there is any danger or risk for the project. Try not to take it personally. It is usually short and a one time occurance, as any events in projects. If it gets into a tendency or shows signs of becoming permanent, tell us. If we do not listen, talk to Human Resources. 

We thank you for investing time and effort into your professional growth. Ask us or Human Resources about training opportunities. Ask for coaching or mentoring, if you feel that you need one. We may not be the best coaches or mentors, but we may know someone who fits the role. 

We have at least one thing in common: the word “project” in our job titles. This makes us accomplices. Whatever happens, you need to know that we got your back. Because it’s mutual. 

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