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Week 3. The Project Managers training blog by Paul Bradley SPOCE MD

Week 3: Follow SPOCE MD Paul Bradley as he completes week three of his London Marathon training. See how this 'project' is coming together. He gets organised and assigns the important project roles to the team. But what is the role of our marathon runner in this project?

17th July 2022 - Marathon day minus 11 weeks

Organisation, Roles, and the Coach

This week saw me run another 30 miles. The training was good, and I managed to squeeze in 4 runs rather than three. The week began on Monday with the usual 8 miles around my local harbour. I've been training during the early morning because of the heat, and it was good to get this first run of the week done. It was tougher than previous runs because of the heat, but this same route is getting quicker - so some early benefits are already being confirmed.

The run on Wednesday was in the midday heat of the hottest day of the year! I wouldn't recommend this (lesson learned) and I only went out to support someone else - in a project support capacity. Essentially it became a stop/start 4 miles that turned into a social because of the number of people we met en route. It's all training though, and no mile is ever lost.

An early Thursday morning 3 miler was an added to the weekly plan, running with a friend from Team #runFAR who made the 304 mile journey to surprise us. This gave me the perfect reason to add in the extra run that Coach had suggested to me last week.

Assigning roles: Who is the Project Manager? 

Coach, AKA my running buddy Guy, is project managing this training plan. Like most Project Managers, his appointment was more accidental than intentional, and he often questions how this has happened. A few weeks back I spoke to him on a training run about project roles and he classified his role in this training plan as Project Support. Always there to help get me out the door, planning the routes, reminding me to hydrate a day or two before a long run.

I thought about this, and felt that Guy is really the Project Manager. He's the one maintaining the plan, keeping the plan up to date, delegating work to...me actually. In a structure where roles are combined, he is covering the Project Support and Team Manager roles too, but his main role is PM. The nickname Coach has now stuck, for which he will forever be known as.

Who is the Sponsor?

The Sponsor is Sense, the charity who I am training and fundraising for. Their work empowers thousands of people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities to communicate, experience the world and fulfil their potential. As the Sponsor, their responsibility in this project is to ensure they get the best value for money from their investment in granting me a London Marathon place.

And who am I? I'm the product 

As for my role, it dawned on me that while I may be a team resource doing the work, I'm actually the output of this project. I'm being developed throughout this deployment phase, going through many iterations to improve the product (me). More about this in project life cycles in my next blog. I finished this week off with another 15 mile run and felt pretty good.

So, what's next?

Next week I'll extend the long run, and will explain the type of project life cycle I'm applying to this project.

Help the cause and get free APM training

In addition to Paul's London Marathon he will also be using his skills as a project management trainer to raise funds. For the next 2 months APM PFQ and APM PMQ (live ONLIVE virtual classroom or On Demand) will be absolutely FREE! All we ask is that you make the required charitable donation in exchange to Paul's JustGiving page. Find out more by visiting our funding page in aid of Sense charity. 

About Paul Bradley

Paul Bradley is a leading authority on project management methods and techniques. With over 25 years in the industry, Paul's knowledge and experience is respected by clients, accreditation bodies and training organisations globally. Paul has been the Managing Director of SPOCE since 2005, and is an accredited trainer for PRINCE2®, APM and AgilePM®. He is a regular presenter at seminars, providing information on project implementation drawn from his expertise as an accredited Axelos P3M3® Consultant. He has had two books published to enhance the training and use of PRINCE2®.