New Project but No Relevant Industry Experience

  • Transformational Project Management Coach
  • Professional Training & Development
  • Maximizing your time and that of those around you is the space you should always try to work from

  • Have you ever been assigned to a project where there is a new product or solution, or maybe you changed jobs and have limited industry experience?  Our first reactions may be to either run for the nearest bathroom or appear overconfident that we are ready for the challenge. 

    Either reaction or somewhere in between will eventually lead to a feeling of isolation when your mind is going in a million directions...trying to figure out where to start when you know nothing or little of the subject matter. 

    Most of us believe we need to figure this out on my’s part of the job and a “rite of passage” in becoming a Project Manager. This mindset is the worst thing we can do to ourselves as it sets us up for unnecessary failure from Day 1.  

    What you should feel comfort in is that all Project Managers will face this exact situation many times throughout their project management careers.


  • Maximizing your time and that of those around you is the space you should always try to work from. Furthermore, any knowledge and information that will provide sustainable value will be learned incrementally. Therefore, you should not put pressure on yourself to learn the non-project management related aspects to your project overnight.

    There are several actions you can take on your own as well as with your colleagues.

    1. Research products and similar solutions on your own...basic internet searches will provide you with a tremendous amount of reference materials from varying stakeholder perspectives.
    2. Establish close and open relationships with your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Get to know what their strengths are, any conflicting priorities, how much experience they have on similar projects, any risks and issues that we should plan for, etc.
    3. Reach out to other PMs in your company who may have managed similar projects. They can possibly share project artifacts from their projects and give you lessons learned that should help mitigate known risks.


  • An undervalued skill of the Project Manager is the ability to quickly establish and maintain trusted relationships with their stakeholders. It is always easier to ask for and obtain help from people when there is a pre-existing relationship based on shared experiences or mentoring.  

    Successful Project Managers will spend the necessary time researching the products and solutions for their projects. The internet is very useful for finding white papers, case studies and project templates for similar projects that will immediately increase your confidence from knowing nothing to something. Furthermore, the information you learn on your own along with the professional relationships you’ve established will only increase the effectiveness and productivity of your project communications.

    Therefore, trusting your project management experience, conducting diligent research and engaging proactively with those of proven success and mitigated failures should become your natural reaction when being assigned to a project and know nothing on the topic. 

    Today, more so than ever, we have to be open and ready to drive change and innovation. Project Managers can either be the leader or disrupting force to make possibilities a reality.

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Raoul Fokke

What an insightful piece – especially highlighting the undervalued skills of relationship building with stakeholders.

Jhonny Urteaga


Jhonny Urteaga

Not having relevant experience is very common for a project manager as they could be just starting out or transitioning to take over a new project. Regardless of the situation, there are lot of resources that can be used to learn from rather than trying to figure things out on your own.

Great post and thanks for providing this great insights for project managers to getting around lacking relevant experience.

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