If you are looking to transition to a senior role you'll need to demonstrate your ability to lead and drive the execution of projects effectively. Your manager will be looking for signs that you can take charge, set priorities, follow through, and ultimately be trusted to handle projects independently. I want to cover a few key aspects of driving execution that you can tackle to show you are ready for the next level!
At the heart of driving execution is the ability to take the lead. This means stepping up and owning a project from start to finish. You should be the person who figures out what needs to be done next, what is most critical, and how to ensure that everything stays on track.
Successful project execution requires effective stakeholder management. This means communicating with all the team members or other relevant parties that would be interested in how the project is going. By listening to them, addressing concerns, and providing project updates, you can show that you understand this more strategic part of project execution.
When first starting out on this, you may want your manager to initially own the stakeholder communication and have you own providing them with all the details so that you can learn what is needed and who it needs to go to. As time moves along, your leader can transition more of this responsibility to you and expose you more as the true leader of the project.
Prioritization is key to getting projects delivered successfully and is an important skill that you'll want to show. Practice being deliberate in your decision making when the team is discussing how to accomplish a part of the project, . Consider the impact, the effort, and the benefits of the various options you have. Will it push out the timeline? Will cutting corners make somebody really unhappy? Will your company achieve their objectives better?
There are a lot of prioritization frameworks out there that can help you learn this skill, but the key is to think about the options and be able to decide and communicate what the priorities will be.
Not everybody starts out ready to lead a full-scale project on their own. When you are just starting to learn these skills, you may want to start off by taking charge of a team process. For instance, if you work in an agile/lean type of delivery team, managing a task board can be an excellent opportunity to showcase some organizational skills, keeping up on current status, and learning to follow up with people. The developer advocacy team that I lead has a similar concept with a content planning board. We manage content from idea through review and then publishing and reporting. This has been a great process to allow different members of the team to learn some skills by owning that process.
Throughout this, you will want to work very closely with your manager or mentor. Not only so that they can see your progress and skills, but also because you can use them to get support and guidance on what to tackle next. They might be able to coach you on how you could improve, or even find ways to make opportunities become available for you!
Always remember that this is about continuous improvement. There will be times when it doesn't go well, and other times where you really get to the next level! Learning to be the driver of an execution team will take time and experience.
Are you trying to go through this now? Hey, leave a comment, I'll try to help out!