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Growing Within Project Management

Growing Within Project Management

Are you looking to grow as a project manager? Want to find maximum success? Project Management is a discipline for a discipline so it requires some bilateral learning to be effective with responsibilities and accountabilities of project success. To become a professional in project management takes some sacrifice, so here are some objective ways to focus intentions. 

Volunteer:

Everyone loves a volunteer for their cause! It’s attaining free work to produce more of or better quality in what they believe in. This is a valuable way to network and get experience at the same time. If you want to be a project manager in construction, a good volunteer experience could be Habitat for Humanity. If you want to be a project manager in health care, a good volunteer experience could be as easy as asking to help in a hospital.

  • Cost:  Time (med), Money (low)
  • Reward:  Networking (high), Experience (low)

Attain Memberships:

Memberships are great because they help you develop. Articles can be written about best practices or lessons learned to understand what the industry trends are.  Further, organization websites can be full of resources to help you or your company. Here are a few organizations that I have had affiliations with:

PMI– Project Management Institute can be found at pmi.org. PMI is the world renowned leader for project management industry standards. Being a member entitles you to knowledge, networks, and resources that can help you to develop within project management.

AACE– Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering can be found at aacei.org. AACE has many well regarded project management professionals within the organization because understanding cost is important to project managers and AACE does that well. Because the organization is smaller (than PMI) the affinity to have something in common with some of these professionals is greater.  

ASQ– American Society for Quality can be found at asq.org. ASQ is a premier source for Quality Management, worldwide. Think of Six Sigma, for example. As a project manager, it is important to produce a high quality product in an efficient manner and this organization has a legacy of famous members who have helped to mold this organization.      

  • Cost:  Time (low), Money (low)
  • Reward:  Networking (med), Experience (med)

Higher Learning:

Going to college is a great way to create a niche focus for what you can manage. A project management degree is reputable, but what would you manage? As a project manager, it is necessary to understand the intricacies of the trade and to be knowledgeable in what it takes to resource a need.

Here’s an article that Forbes published regarding highest starting salaries for college degrees.  

It costs some money, along with time, to attain a degree, but the rewards are great.

  • Cost:  Time (high), Money (high)
  • Reward:  Experience (high), Networking (med-high)

Get PMP certified:

You don’t have to have the title of “Project Manager” to be certified. You don’t even have to have a college degree to be certified. You do need to have several years of practice in the disciplines that project managers work in. That can be easily attained through work and volunteering. Didn’t you organize your best friend’s wedding? There was a lot of planning involved to maintain cost, scope, and schedule deadlines!

A PMP certificate is the most demanded credential right now.  Attaining one puts you in the company of “have” vs. “have not”.

  • Cost:  Time (med), Money (low)
  • Reward:  Experience (high), Networking (med-high)

Find a mentor:

Don’t be intimidated to ask someone for their experience. It can be a humbling endeavor. But, a humble attitude is what will make you grow. Find someone who is majoring in the majors where you want to grow and ask if you can be of help.

  • Cost:  Time (low), Money (low)
  • Reward:  Experience (high), Networking (med-high),

Become Active:

Becoming active is about marketing yourself and the brand in which you sell. After taking inventory with your supply, what you are good at and how you can help others, let others know about you.

This can be done by donating your time to organizations where you can speak about what you know. LinkedIn and Social Media, PMI Chapters, and Interest Groups are vessels that can put someone in front of a crowd to speak about the complexities of experience.

  • Cost:  Time (med), Money (low)
  • Reward:  Networking (high), Experience (low)

There is opportunity cost with what you give up to do for the decisions that you follow. The secret is to weigh which opportunities are more important towards career goals.  Do what makes you excited and give if it would make you joyful.

Networking is indispensable. That holds true, especially in project management. Clichés come to mind. “You are as good as those around you.” “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

From diligence comes respect. If you have enough experience, respect, and understanding in a discipline, then you might be asked to become a Project Manager.

Author - Gregory Morrow

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