Tips for a Career in Project Management
A career in project management can be a demanding role but it can also be extremely rewarding. As with other career options, there are many questions and challenges to face when starting out based on your particular background and situation. Although project management revolves around planning, delegating, monitoring and controlling, yet seeing a project from start to finish and through all of the ups and down can be a hugely satisfying process. The world of project management is extensive, with many various career paths and opportunities. Here we go..
1. Get Qualified
If you are considering a prosperous career in project management then getting a qualification is a great place to start. A qualification in project management shows potential employers that you are serious about your career and the discipline. There are a number of academic and professional qualifications to explore in PRINCE2, PMP, APM Project Fundamentals etc. There are opportunities to progress your career in project management depending on the level of qualification.
2. Key Attributes
There are several key personal attributes that will help you become a successful project manager. Being an effective communicator is key to success in addition to your ability to inspire team members. Project management is about people and resources hence stakeholder management skills is vital to seeing project through with motivation. Project managers are also required to work well under pressure and always striving to meet the objectives of the client.
A positive attitude and honesty is also extremely important, if you don’t know the answer or have done something wrong, do not be afraid to admit this. Even though you are managing a team, you are not expected to know everything and you will get a lot of respect from others if you are being honest with them. Staying positive in all situations will keep your team motivated and this will impress stakeholders and secure future projects.
3. Get Focused
Although you will use the same fundamental skills and processes across projects, don’t be afraid to pursue one specific area. A great project manager should be able to manage projects across any industry but many will choose to specialise in one area of project management to really hone in on their skills. Take the time to figure out which types of projects you would like to manage and focus your learning to know as much about that industry as you can.
4. Learn How to Communicate
A huge portion of a project manager’s work is communicating with team members and project stakeholders. For instance, if something was to unexpectedly happen during project execution and the project manager realised there may be a delay in the completion date. A great project manager will need to communicate this information as soon as possible to all those involved. Different stakeholders need to be approached differently and may need phone calls or personal visits to reassure them.
5. Find a Mentor
A mentor can be a huge boost to your career goals if you can find one. You can find mentors by networking locally or online. Be sure to approach these mentors in the right way and offer benefit to them in exchange for their advice. Your main goal should be to offer valuable assistance to potential mentors, with the hope they will reciprocate by sharing their lessons learned. Rather than asking to shadow them why not ask if they have any tasks that you could do for them. If you are a project team member and looking to advance in your career, ask if you can help compile the status report or take minutes during project meetings.