This paper was first published
on August 15, 2008, by allPM.com: THE PROJECT MANAGER'S HOME PAGE
© 2008 allPM.com. Republished with permission www.allpm.com.
Published here November 2008.
Nurture Your PM Career
As you consider the direction that you future may take you it is important
- Follow your passion
Being a project manager consumes a lot of time and energy. As a result, if you
are not completely committed to this life style, the job becomes a burden. On
the other hand, if the prospect of completing an objective, with all the challenges
that accompany the result, provides the exhilaration you desire then being a project
manager is worthwhile.
- Assess and optimize your personal resources
In addition to the "hard skills" of ensuring that a project is delivered on time,
within the budget and produces the quality product, many "soft skills" are necessary.
Since most of the project manager's role is that of "communicator" or "coach,"
the ability to motivate and build a functional team is usually the differentiator
between a successful or failed project.
- Raise your visibility by networking, promoting, publishing and volunteering
Even though a project manager is assigned to a project, the ability to establish
credibility and lead is crucial. By practicing those leadership skills through
other means not only enhances you as an individual, but also supports the growth
of the profession.
- Be proactive and grasp opportunities
A project manager must always be proactive and forward thinking. Rather than watching
the taillights of the car directly in front of you, you must be looking for red
lights far in front. With this expanded vision it is easy to be able to take advantage
of possibilities and implement corrective actions well in advance of an actual
- Take considered risks
Obviously all projects, as well as life, have risks. As a project manager we need
to be able to prioritize those risks and determine what response is appropriate.
Sticking our head in the sand and hoping that problems will disappear on their
own is, obviously, not the best solution. Thinking through a situation beforehand
enables the development of a more complete solution.
- Search for a role model and/or a mentor, if needed
Often times, it is necessary to have someone who has "been there" to discuss situations.
This need not be a one-way street, as both individuals learn from the discussions.
The "lessons learned" are invaluable.
- Learn the art and skill of organizational politics
The one skill that prepares a project manager for promotion into a higher management
position has to do with the ability to understand and handle organizational politics.
Depending on the project, this education may become a "baptism by fire". In many
project efforts the "organizational politics" have more influence on the activities
and results of the project than the actual project objectives. If anything, a
project manager will understand whether the promotion into functional management
is something they want to consider in the future.
Wherever you are today on the PM career path - working to take the first step
or trying to advance to the next level - the recognition and the need for professionals
in the Project Management field is recognized around the world.
Getting ahead depends on you
And no one else!