This paper was first published on August 15, 2008, by THE PROJECT MANAGER'S HOME PAGE™ © 2008 Republished with permission
Published here November 2008.

Introduction | Getting on the PM Career Path 
Growing on the PM Career Path | Nurture Your PM Career

Nurture Your PM Career

As you consider the direction that you future may take you it is important to:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 problem.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
Growing on the PM Career Path  Growing on the PM Career Path

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