The Keys to Project Success: Inside the life of a Project Manager

Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it. – Maya Angelou

This beautifully written quote from Maya Angelou resonates well with Vanithashrree Raja, Project and Operations & Maintenance Manager who is currently working in the South Double Track project for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB).  In her early 30s now, she has been actively involved in projects’ lifecycles of Electric Trains, and is currently pursuing success as a Planning and Process Control Manager.

What’s the key to project success? Let’s take a look inside the life of a project manager for project success. Here are the four aspects in life that you need to invest in or alter, in order to reap the fruits of your labour.

1. Social life

For most people, it might seem impossible to sacrifice their social life. However, being a project manager, time is of the essence with career and ultimately, life. She prioritises every event separately on a daily basis. It takes a lot of self-discipline to achieve this as our thoughts frame our character as a whole.

“With a lot of time dedicated to self-improvement by reading books, I develop and hone my skills in leadership, project management in order to then become a better member of society and human being in general. These are just some of the things I do every day to become a better project manager.  Although it requires me to invest a large part of my social life, I’m happy to do it.”

2. Personal life

The time you spend with yourself and your family is an essential foundation and support system in life. At times, choosing between your work life and your personal life can be overwhelming as it is nearly impossible to balance these two every day. Finding this ‘Zen’ is still one of the toughest challenges in her life.

“Sometimes, you can find yourself being too attached to your work, as you try your very best at providing for your family or advancing your career. This can make you appear too work-centric or negligent of the responsibilities in your personal life. If this happens, then accept the feedback others are giving you. Realising the situation you’re in is the first step. Moving forward though, it is important to stay focused. Don’t forget however, that living with ‘ambition over family’ isn’t sustainable, since your personal life is the foundation that holds your professional life together.”

3. Time

Time is the most valuable thing a man or woman can spend, especially when you’re on the path to success.

My mentor once told me, that the difference between successful and unsuccessful people is their utilisation of time. That is why I am always time-conscious, and I plan every day accordingly. 12 hours of my day are spent at work or on the commute. I schedule one hour a day for family, one more for personal development and the last hour for chores and a bit of meditation before I conclude the day.


4. Entertainment

Entertainment is usually seen as a time-waster, but if used correctly, it can be a valuable advantage.

On my commute to and from work, I enjoy listening to audiobooks by Robin Sharma, or listening to informative radio channels such as BFM. From the plethora of available movies I try to narrow down a few that could in some way provide value or mind-stimulation  to ensure some sort of learning for every hour of the day. My favourite movies of all time are ‘Beautiful Mind’ and ‘The Theory of Everything’. Both movies depict unimaginable levels of intelligence and cleverness, determination and enthusiasm of being the true ingenious self.

PS: Put yourself instantly in the role of a Project Manager with SimulTrain®. A game-based online project management simulator which allows learners to acquire core competencies while improving teamwork and leadership skills in a realistic & fast-paced environment.