Throughout her career, Carmen has had the opportunity to work in various industries all around the world.
“A lot of people have the misconception that project management is something only business, commerce or engineering students need to acquire as a skill. But it’s actually quite the opposite. In any industry — whether you’re in medicine or politics — you need to have a set of organisational and planning skills to execute activities in the most effective way,” she says.
In project management, effectiveness does not refer to the success of a project based on what the end user of a product, or the customer of a service, wants or needs. Instead, it's about the integration of all stakeholder views and meeting their requirements whilst sticking to the budget, time and specifications they wish to implement.
“A project manager’s (PM’s) responsibilities include designing the scope of a product or service, engaging all stakeholders, having an understanding of any relevant legal documentation and policies, assembling the right project team, providing them with the right support, and organising physical resources, labour and budgets,” Carmen says.
“Sometimes, depending on the client, PMs will also be involved in the execution stage of a project. They can be asked to check if the project is going smoothly, which requires a whole different set of skills.”
Once upon a time, project management took Carmen all the way to Hong Kong where she was involved in the Disneyland Resort Project.
Because of Hong Kong’s strong focus on environmental policies and green initiatives, the project was massive — a term used to describe projects that take more than one year to complete.
“The process of approval for any kind of development in Hong Kong can take about two or three years, and that’s just the standard. I was involved with the committee to facilitate that, which included engaging a lot of stakeholders and understanding what processes were required,” Carmen says.
“Disneyland has a specific standard of design for how their theme parks should look, but because the environmental policy was so rigid in this case, we had to completely re-do the design so it met the demands of Hong Kong’s environmental policies, while also keeping the integrity of Disneyland’s image and experience. From conceptualisation to negotiations, it took about four years.”
Despite not having experience in environmental law or construction, Carmen utilised her skills as a PM — including overseeing the entire process, distributing the resources and communicating with stakeholders — to ensure the successful completion of the project.