Welcome to the latest blog in the meet the Formation team. This month brings you closer to our Project Manager, Mike.

Mike graduated in 2013 and tells us about a career move from recruitment into Fit Out Project Management, how easy it’s been and what has surprised him….

How the devil are you?

Quite busy, lots of new projects focusing my mind at the moment. Travelling quite a bit at the moment too.

You graduated in 2013, what did you do after?

I joined a couple of recruitment firms and gained some good experience in delivering large scale recruitment projects. I enjoyed the customer engagement and the process of running the project but interviewing hundreds of people didn’t interest me. That said, I did it for a number of years as I wanted to build my customer skills, which I did.

You joined Formation last year, what was the attraction?

I’d been thinking of changing my career direction for a while and I really wanted to find a company and role where I could see the fruits of my labour. Somewhere I could see and touch my work. It sounds odd but it’s really important to see a tangible finished product for me. I knew David and caught up really for a chat about my future but it quickly turned into an interview!

Has Project Management been what you thought it would be?

Yes and No. The big attraction for me was tangible delivery as I said earlier, but also looking at the logical and process side of being a PM, that is definitely in the job. The surprise is how much is your responsibility but not in your control, you really have to second guess a lot of stuff. That was a surprise. I have quickly found that people have original thought and do weird and wonderful things, I have to predict this. Not easy !

What was your biggest surprises about the sector and the role?

I think during my interviews it was clear that Project Health & Safety is number one at Formation. I’ve never had a job where you can hurt someone, that focuses the mind. I have been surprised by how much admin supports jobs but I see the benefit and it does ensure things go smoothly. I think my view on Fit Out projects was quite narrow, it’s a broad range of services and delivery options! The range of sub-contractors and their niches has been surprising. I am doing a project at the moment for a Water Softener for a building. You’d think it was straight-forward but it’s a major piece of engineering and if you get it wrong, you close the building.

We have some great systems at Formation and there is a move to less paperwork but I have been surprised by how much our partners and customers still like paper. I got a posted invoice sent to me last month, don’t think I have ever seen that before!

Have you got much more to learn?

Loads. It’s a blend of self-learning, classroom and ‘in the trenches’ experience. I am on another course next week. There isn’t enough room on my business cards left for all the letters after my name!

If you had a single piece of advice for someone making a move into Project Management, what would it be?

Can I have two? They’re really good…

Firstly, you have to close jobs off, properly. Everyone hates snagging, so get a job done, first time.

Secondly, don’t put anything off, be on top of your partners and suppliers, keep everyone on their deadlines. I might have given you seven pieces of advice there. It’s all free though.

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