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Meet the Instructors of MLA ’24 CE 400 - The Joy of Project Management! Managing All Projects, Large and Small

MLA ’24 Continuing Education: Meet Janet Crum & Elisa Cortez

In the weeks leading up to MLA ‘24 in Portland, we’ll profile the conference Continuing Education instructors and their courses. We continue the series this week with Janet Crum who, with Elisa Cortez, teaches The Joy of Project Management! Managing All Projects, Large and Small.

What are you most looking forward to seeing/eating/experiencing in Portland?

I lived in Portland for 14 years and haven’t been back in awhile, so I’m most looking forward to connecting with friends and former colleagues and seeing how the city has changed. I’m also looking forward to eating my body weight in seafood. We don’t have a lot of good seafood options here in the Arizona desert.

How did you get interested in your topic and what most excites you about it?

In the late 1990s, I was invited to take a semester-long project management course that was being piloted for the informatics program at Oregon Health & Science University, where I was working at the time. The course was excellent, and soon after I took it, I was assigned a major project to manage. I used the techniques I learned in class, and the project was a success and ended up helping me get promoted to a leadership position. In other words, project management launched my career in library leadership.

I get excited about project management techniques because they are so useful and powerful. They help you manage projects, of course, but they can also help you manage your daily workload and set and achieve personal and professional goals. Project management is a very practical way to think about work and can transform even the most daunting goals into actionable tasks.

What problems, obstacles, or lack of knowledge might your intended audience experience that your course addresses?

The biggest obstacle project management can help you overcome is feeling overwhelmed. Imagine being assigned a large project. How do you start? How do you figure out what has to be done, in what sequence, on what timeline, and by whom? How do you keep track of every piece of the project and make sure nothing falls through the cracks--without stressing yourself out? 

What practical, immediately applicable information or skills will learners gain from your course?

Attendees will learn how to scope out a project, assemble a team, identify actionable tasks and subtasks that make up a project, develop a timeline, track progress, and use digital or paper tools to manage projects. The tools taught in this class will help learners tackle their next project—big or small, professional or personal—with confidence.

How will your course help learners provide value to their employers and advance in their careers?

The project management techniques taught in this course will help learners manage large, high-profile projects effectively, become more productive, and demonstrate leadership skills that can lead to promotion (I’m living proof of that).

What’s the main thing you hope learners will take away from your course?

I hope learners come away with more confidence in their ability to lead large, complex projects so they can say yes to more opportunities and handle challenging, rewarding work with less stress and more joy.

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