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Posts tagged ‘Women in stem’

Natacha Wilson and how to run successful projects

by Aldara B. Dios

At the International Women’s Day, we were fortunate enough to have Natacha Wilson as the host of the workshop “10 tips on how to run successful projects”.

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We started the evening sharing our story with a friendly face: What do you do? and What kind of project have you managed? The list was broad and diverse, which included annual reports, file Athena Swan applications, clinical trials, family holidays and house expansions.

And before starting with her tips, Natacha asked us again, what makes a project successful for us? That was a pivotal question as we needed to know what to achieve before starting. Some of the answers were recurring, but some of them not. The meaning of success it was found, is different in each case and depends on the environment of the project.

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Once success was defined, we explored how we would do we achieve:

  1. Gain consensus on the goals. One way is setting SMART goals, that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic and Time-based. On every project, if you know your specific and measurable goals it is easier to know when it’s a success.
  2. Build and BE the best team you can. Although nowadays the lens is a lot on processes and performance, without the right people the project doesn’t happen. It was related to “No one person can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra”.
  3. Design, update and share a project plan. Many project managers make the mistake of not sharing the project plan with the team. Again, the team is essential!
  4. Determine what you need in advance. Plan, schedule, and Identify the tasks, sequence them, estimate time and budget, add key milestones and with that create a draft schedule.
  5. Be realistic with your schedule. People don’t work 24/7. Be MOSCOW to prioritise. Define the Must do and Should do goals and prioritise those from the Could do and Would do. On most of the projects the Must do and Should do are the least interesting but, should be prioritised and the team should understand this.
  6. People matter. Take care of your team and understand it. Not only do you need the people with the right skills, you also need people who work well together and have the experience needed.
  7. Teammates should know the needs of the others and yours. For that, you have to communicate with them.

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  1. Create and innovate. Solve the problems trying new ways to do things.
  2. Praise and empower your team. And remember that if you have to criticize someone it has to be balanced, objective, observed, specific and timed. And never focus on the person but on the problem.
  3. Have fun!

To end the evening Natacha asked us to reflect on and explore at least three of the questions we talked about during the workshop.

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Thank you, Natacha, for such a fun and productive evening.

Moving from diversity to inclusion by Dawn Bonfield. Last week to book!

Spend an evening with Dawn Bonfield MBE, who will present her case on Inclusive Engineering making inclusivity unavoidable. This approach ensures diversity will follow and is sustained. The steps include embedding Inclusive Engineering into university curriculums, changing our engineering processes and practices and adopting ‘bias interrupters’.

Dawn is a materials engineer by profession having studied Materials Science and worked in the aerospace industry. Her career spans; AERE Harwell, Citroen Research Centre (Paris), British Aerospace (Bristol), MBDA (Stevenage) and the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining (London). She was previously the President and then the first Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society, which works to promote gender equality. She founded, what has become, the International Women in Engineering Day, and the Top 50 influential Women in Engineering with the Daily Telegraph.

In 2016 she received her MBE for ‘Services to the promotion of diversity in engineering’. She now runs Towards Vision, which allows her to progress her own agenda, campaign, lobby, work her own hours and pick her own projects.

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Book now! Moving from Diversity to inclusion with Dawn Bonfield, MBE.

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Tips to boost your confidence.

We got together to work on top tips on being confident. First, we considered what situations we might particularly need a confidence boost in and choose the following ones to brainstorm tips for :

IMG_4653.JPG• Getting your opinion heard (for example in meetings)
• In a new role
• After a knock to your confidence, such as a failure, redundancy etc.
• For networking events
• Negotiating a pay rise or other working conditions such as flexi-time

1. Prepare- In every situation, bring prepared was seen as a real confidence. It helps to have thought about the content of what you are going to say, what arguments to use for your pay rise or other negotiations (including your researching your “market value”, considering the other person’s likely point of view), the interests and backgrounds of people you are meeting and possible answers to likely and hard questions in a job interview. For networking events people thought it was helpful to prepare an opening gambit as well as an exit strategy. Preparation for meetings can include sending out “homework” for others in advance.

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2. Celebrate successes- When you are feeling nervous or under confident, remember the successes you have had in the past. Maybe keep reminders (such as thank you cards or emails) to hand to remind yourself.
3. Be assertive- Assertive as a way of interacting with people is not the same as aggressive, it is the mindset that you are okay and the other person is okay and you both deserve respect and boundaries. You give respect and expect it in return. It involves listening, asking questions and clarifying and looking for areas of agreement and mutual wins.

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4. Feel the fear and do it anyway- it is natural to feel nervous, especially if you’re venturing out of your comfort zone (which is a good thing to be doing, but is when you are most likely to need a dose of confidence)
5. Get a mentor – Talking things through with someone who has been there may be the best thing for your confidence and it would be worth finding a mentor. For a general lift in confidence, become someone’s mentor! It will make you realize how far you have come.
6. Learn from your mistakes- Don’t beat yourself up about mistakes, analyse what you’d do differently next time. Don’t try to blame them on someone else and you will feel more confident in similar situations.

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7. Don’t take things personally/ keep perspective
8. Fake it till you make it- the important part really is the second half of the sentence- you will make it and you will feel confident in doing something that is now quite new, so put on a smile and act confident until you feel it. However, don’t bluster or over compensate.
9. Keep busy- Doing what you are good at will boost you. Maybe you can engineer small wins.
10. Do someone a favour- Or compliment or even just smile at someone, they won’t be the only ones benefiting!

Tips for specific situations included: if someone won’t stop talking, make a change to the situation, even if it is just getting up yourself.
To regain your confidence after a bad situation, remember how you bounced back before, what you did to get over any previous disappointments.

Thank you, Tennie for a most effective workshop!

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