Chapter 6 of a much more comprehensive post Project Management Guide: Starting Out. I love this question, and I will make a series on it in the near future but until then lets focus on how how to start your management career.
There are a lot of confusion when it comes to starting out. What I have found when talking to people is that they really don’t know where and how to start. Maybe they are in one position and try to move to the next one, trying to transition careers or just simply at the beginning of their work life. Whichever situation you are in here are some pointers to get you started.
Establish your situation
A “career” is a job or occupation regarded as a long-term or lifelong activity. That career will bring forth opportunities and new possibilities. Three main questions related to your situation you have to answer:
- What career do you want to be in?
- Same career, but you will advance?
- Transitioning to another career?
Framework for preparing your new management career
It is important to analyze where you are now, your current situation, because this will provide you with a good picture of your current situation and a better picture of where you are headed in the future, desired objective.
To reinforce the above paragraph, think of it this way:
Visualizing – see yourself in the new role, whatever it may be:
- Expand to new teams, bigger teams
- Different technology
- Manage a different type of project
- Take a more leadership oriented role and deal with leading people
- Become a speaker
- Write papers
Take time to ask yourself these questions:
- What would it look like?
- What would it feel like?
- Where would you be?
- How many people would it be?
- Would it be just you and yourself?
- If you’re writing, what would you write about?
- If you’re speaking, what would you speak about?
It is very important to have a clear vision of where is it you want to go. If you can’t really see yourself doing it, it will be very hard to do the next two steps.
Planning – after you have envisioned yourself in the new position, you have to prepare your road, how will I get there:
- Do I need training?
- A type of experience?
- A mentor?
- Work with someone who has been there, done that?
- Learn a new technology?
- Get some new tools?
- Get some new skills?
And plan those things. We must assume project managers are good with planning.
Commit – this is the third step and you must be willing to commit, commit time, money and effort into achieving your plans. Don’t commit you will never evolve, and will never have the chance of achieving your objectives.
Technique to help you plan your project management career steps (SMART Goals)
A method you can use for defining your objectives is SMART Goals/Objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based). Take a look at this article where we go over each of the five characteristics, and explain how to apply it.
Done for now. This concludes this chapter. The next article in this guide is: 3 ways of starting out your project management career. Also you can go to the first post of the guide Project Management Guide: Starting Out to get an overview of how I have structured the guide. Please leave your comments below.