How to Thrive in an Accidental Project Manager [Video interview]

Simon Harris talks to me about how to thrive in an accidental project manager role.
We discuss how project managers find themselves in different roles, how you can step up to take on new responsibilities, how to build accountability, and how to make project management valuable to your management by linking it back to the things executives worry about.
If you prefer to read, there is a transcript below.

Elizabeth: We are counting down.
Simon: Simon, I don’t see anything counting down.
Elizabeth: Well, I can, so we’re live!
Simon: Fantastic.
Elizabeth: Hello everyone, and welcome to Project Management Cafe as well as our regular Facebook Live slot. Today it’s not me. Today, I broadcast to you from a different part of my house. Hopefully the light is a bit brighter than in my dark and dismal downstairs office. On this side, no. You’ll see Simon Harris, a project management trainer with many years of experience, and a consultant. Simon also runs which is a training company. Simon, do you want a little bit about yourself?
Simon: I will only add consulting to that.
Elizabeth: Yes.
Simon: There are many consulting and training opportunities to fill in the gaps between.
Elizabeth: Perfect. We’re now focusing on the theme for this week. Simon has been our resident expert in the group this week and we’ve been discussing all things to do accidental project managers. What happens when someone says, “Can I just …,” Can you just manage this project?” Maybe you even started your own business like that. Perhaps you’ve chosen to work in project management like me. That’s the theme for the week. Simon, I’m sure, helped me to come up with this theme. Let’s talk about some of the questions and your thoughts. Let me start with my list of questions to ask you: Why do you think people become project managers by accident?
Simon HarrisSimon : I believe they are either in the wrong place at wrong time or they are trying to get into project management. So, two different motivations, I suggest.
Elizabeth: Mm-hmm. Yes, I suppose it is someone who has had to take on project management. You’re correct, however, that you could choose to take on project management by yourself.
Simon: I agree, it is a little more broad than project management. However, I have always believed that the best way to be promoted is to be already doing the job.
Elizabeth: That helps.
Simon: It makes it easier for someone who is trying to give you a different title if you are already doing the job. They already know that you have the ability. I have done this consistently in the evening contract arenas. Simply by taking advantage of the opportunities that are available, you can be promoted to contractor.
Elizabeth: So, if you are looking for a job and are willing to take it on, you might find yourself in a position where you manage a project. This could be for someone who is a project manager but wants to move on to programme management, portfolio role, programme office, or something similar. You should be looking for opportunities. You’re pulling a smile.
Simon: I believe you can move from project to program, and you can also move from programme office to programme office. I am curious about portfolio. Because of the organization’s position and the like, I believe you can step into a portfolio job, but I’m not certain that it’s necessarily from an executive role.