Introduction to Project Management As a Career Path
There are many individuals out there who seem to have the conception of having a prime time in their careers. That prime time within an era of themselves can come and go and once gone, they believe that they have to start preparing for their retirement or if they hit that end of prime time early, look back at glory days and wish they all came back.
Well, if you’re one of them whose project management career path is nowhere near the age of retirement but is facing a crisis of credibility and awesome work, something that you must’ve belted out in the past but can’t seem to wrap a finger around it now, you have some serious bucking up to do, my friend.
In the world of project management, you’re never too old to be someone who considers having lost the charm. This charm can also be there but what you face are some factors such as these:
- Redundancy in work
- Misunderstanding of the higher ball game
- Thought of switching careers
- Not understanding the current market
- New certification but no direction
- No renewed benchmark
- No control over your work
There are many other factors that may be the cause of pushing you to say, “I need to refresh my project management as a career path.”
Steps to Refresh Your Project Management As a Career Path
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to getting back on your feet and strutting and dancing around. You can always try your hand at making a big comeback with a stellar project or stage a gradual inducement of all that’s special in you and bring that quality to the forefront for the organization to see. Top management can always pick up slack and that should never come under their radar. It’s important that you showcase yourself as a thorough professional even in your weakest moments.
Continuous improvement while in a project management career path is very essential and there should never be a moment where you feel all the factors mentioned in the introductory paragraph. It’s essential that you take heed to the following steps that I’ve managed to compile after completing a great deal of research and checking through the lives of other project managers as well. These are essential and basic steps to re-kick-start your involvement as a successful project manager. You’re too valuable to lose.
Take a Day Off
Literally, take a day off! You deserve it. Taking a day off would mean you can actually clear your mind and rid yourself of all that’s holding you back. Often it is an overworked machine that breaks down faster. It does need that extra bit of oiling as compared to other machines. This is just a testament to how well you work and how much effort you put in towards your work.
Think of it this way, maybe it’s not you who are failing at your projects, but the rigorous friction that has been created over time that has been pulling you down. Ask your reporting manager to help you out with this crisis and grant you a day off to settle your mind and oil that brisk machine well.
It’s very important that during this time out you indulge in recreational activities, which will help you to clear your mind out faster and bring out a clean slate for you to create a masterpiece yet again. The faster you decide to take a day off from your exuberantly overworked life, you’ll be able to hit the reset switch and come back to the office and organization a rejuvenated project manager.
Review Your Resume
While you have all the intentions of making a great comeback with a skill set hitting the “current” button, it’s important that you re-look through your current resume and study it in detail. Browse the Internet and find out what current project management jobs are looking at in candidates. Draw out a chart to decide where you stand at the moment and from comparative studies and research, draw out conclusions as to where you would like to be.
Change is the only constant within the world of project management and it’s necessary that you know how much of that change reflect in your resume. Look out towards filling those blank spaces within your resume as you will see that there can be many opportunities that you can tap on.
Along with rejuvenating yourself, resume rejuvenation can do marvels for your self-confidence and your hope to encounter many different aspects of your job. You will be able to finally put aside the routine of being a project manager and actually head for the dynamics of the job role. It can be a great exercise for you to conduct and plan your next step ahead in the field of project management.
Self-assess Your Project Management As a Career Path
You’ve taken your much-needed break and you’re already onto recreating your resume, so in the same momentum that you’re heading forward, it’s important that you do a little self-inspection and introspect into your project management as a career path and where do you envision yourself to be.
Planning a career and keeping up the plan are two very distinct stages in the life of a professional, who needs to make a career out of project management. When you plan your career you know your path and you establish a tentative way of going through with it. But, there’s never a perfect plan and there’s always room for external and internal factors to affect the outcome of a particular stage in the plan. Keeping up the project management as a career path plan set at the initial times requires you to pay attention to how you’re proceeding with your knowledge base and how that’s affecting the course of your career.
Maintaining a vision at this step is very important. Self-assess your career path and have the vision to take it through. You need to maintain this vision and goal for yourself and this can help you to redo your project management career path in a way that is very self-satisfying and complete.
Add Knowledge Courses to Your Career
By now, you have analyzed the gaps that lie in your current career and the ideal career projections in the field of project management as a career path. It’s now time that you put into action the methods and ways to get those gaps filled in and the two ends of your career to be bridged.
Time and again, project managers go in and get their knowledge checked through self-assessment exercises and find out about the various certification courses that are renowned all over the world and are globally accepted as elevated credentials for any project manager. These certifications include the ones listed as follows:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- CompTIA Project+
- Master Project Manager (MPM)
- Certified Project Manager (CPM)
- Project Management in Information Technology Security (PMITS)
- Associate in Project Management
- Professional in Project Management
- Certified Project Director
These certifications prove to be the catalysts for a project management career path and help in the growth of a project manager almost exponentially. If you feel your project management professional career needs a little boost to send you spiraling upwards, then a certification in project management as a career path can be a great aid to that.
Your knowledge base has got you this far when it comes to your project management as a career path, but like all other expertise and knowledge, you will need a refreshment of what you’ve learned as well.
Knowledge isn’t something that’s static and needs a wave of dynamism as well. Once you’ve learned a particular aspect in a subject, there’s a good chance that you will remember it your whole life through, but there’s also a good chance that throughout the time you delved into that piece of information or subject expertise, things within that area have changed significantly. With these changes comes the possibility of having new ideas and perspectives of a problem within project management, and as someone who is on all fours to get updated and refreshed in their project management career path, you will be all ears when it comes to getting updated.
If you’ve been a holder of a certified credential such as PMP or MPM or CAPM or others, you will need an update or a renewal of the credential proving to be just as beneficial for you as is your entire plan to get back up on your feet.
Write Weekly Progress Reports
You have just swiftly passed through your week at work and all you can remember of it are the tasks you performed but not exactly what you achieved for yourself as a project management professional. In that case, it’s necessary that you implement an approach to your daily calendar, just as you would do for your team members within the organization.
Keeping track of your achievements and setting targets to determine your progress is something that you need to do in order to keep a tab on your endeavor to make things spark up for you again.
- Take a simple Excel sheet and jot down your learning and subsequently your achievements as per your understanding and your project management career goals. The spreadsheet can contain the following:
- Accomplishments of the week
- Learning for the week
- Plan for the coming week
- Every Friday, take a half-hour off your work schedule and review that report on the week that went by and analyze what could’ve made the report even better, and try and align your thought process into believing it can achieve more than what this current spreadsheet shows.
- Engage in constantly improving your mental ability to stay focused on the project management career goals and complete them with utter and sheer satisfaction.
Look Out for Process Improvement Opportunities
Your project management as a career path requires you to be a proactive individual whose sole purpose is to ensure that projects are taken up with a view to continuously improve business performance in any way possible. No business is perfect and there are certainly more than one development area within the organizational workflow that needs careful attention and amendments.
Once you dive head-first into taking up your own initiative rather than being dumped with a projector headed straight out through the door into a room of interviewers for your next job, it is important that you look through it with the dedication of making it the project that will turn your project management career path around.
Creating a path for yourself can be very rewarding and can get the attention of the top and senior management on to an efficient project manager who would love to continuously participate, contribute, and learn the ways of project management as a career path within the organization.
Your stint on that project will come as a surprise to you and you will slowly get you to know and reach your potential and far exceed it. This will be the perfect rejuvenation tool for you to implement.
Reconnect with Your Ex-Manager
Communication is always a great medium for getting in touch with your inner-self especially when you have the need to refresh your project management as a career path or for that matter any career. One such way of making things a bit more exciting for you to pitch in yourself back in the game is to communicate with the past, and by that I mean reconnect with an old manager. Here this manager could be the one who first hired you and you reported to them or this is someone from your current company or someone you really clicked with.
This sort of communication could bring you face to face with the reason you decided to become a project manager in the first place and can take you back down that road again. A good conversation with your ex-manager can spring up things for you for the better.
Indulge in People Management
People management forms a key concept within project management as a career path. Being able to positively influence your team members and create a drive and a sense of purpose for them can help you with all the projects you and your team take up. People management can, in fact, double your chance at refreshing your project management as a career path at a faster pace.
Here you will not only concentrate on the operational, planning, and be organizing aspects of project management as a career path but will also boost the chance of your team contributing and uplifting the project and you as well. This will surely form a give-and-take relationship that you can harbor with your team and organization, posing to be a win-win situation for all.
Love What You Do
This is the most important step and the aspect that can help you out of a slack period in your project management as a career path and disallow you to get back into that period of time. Love what you do and what you do will love you back, resulting in success.
A person who enjoys their work is always successful and will yield positive results always. It is no point if you don’t enjoy what you do or even where you do it. We often dislike our jobs and hate Mondays but the key to dispelling that is simply to get latched onto what you like doing and where you would like doing it. A project manager can work effectively and efficiently only when they have complete control over what they do and accordingly steer their way to success.
This has been a guide to project management as a career path. Here we have discussed the basic concept, 10 Steps to Refresh Your Project Management As a Career Path. You may look at the following articles to learn more –
- Case Study in Project Management
- Project Management Reporting
- Top 7 Open Source Project Management Tools
- Master Project Manager