A successful career in project management (PM) requires something meaningful that makes an individual feel self-confident and become one of the most in-demand candidates in the labor market. The demand for project management professionals is expected to grow by 7 percent by 2031, which is as fast as the average for all occupations in the United States, according to The Bureau of Labour Statistics.
Regardless of project size and type, a project management candidate should fit into a spectrum of requirements to become a well-educated, experienced, and skilled professional able to handle any challenges in their project manager career.
In this blog, we’ll discuss three essential factors to drive your career in a project: education, skills, and experience.
3 Success Factors in Your Project Management Career
If you decide to start a PM career, you need to be ready to take a long journey and spend a lot of time, energy, and effort to make yourself competent and professional in this field.
Obviously, there are some essential factors you need to take into consideration when planning for your next steps. Those factors are as follows:
Let’s take a look at these factors in detail.
1. Basic and Special Education
An entry-level project manager must have at least an associate’s degree in business administration, such as marketing, human resources, and computer information systems. This education will give the candidate an understanding of project management’s business aspects.
In addition, the candidate needs to know the project management industry, such as understanding the importance of stakeholder management and leadership skills. Earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field will provide a deeper understanding of how to define projects and how to become successful in various industries.
Besides, becoming a certified project manager requires you to get special education. For example, The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers many opportunities to start an outstanding career. In addition, you can get a professional PM certification that provides new ways to develop your career in project management. This organization provides more than six certification levels, including CAPM, PMP, and PgMP. Go to the official website pmi.org to learn more and get started.
2. Project Management Skills
A successful project management career requires you to be able to carry out many daily duties and responsibilities, such as supervising teams, planning tasks, tracking progress, managing risks, and more.
Below is a list of the critical skills and abilities for your consideration. To succeed in your professional project management career and be number one, you must work smartly on developing and improving these talents.
- Team Builder: acquiring and assembling a group of people who can work as a productive and collaborative team.
- Team Leader: a set of skills and abilities for leading, coordinating, motivating, and controlling teams and their performance.
- Problem Solver: an ability to detect a problem and find an effective solution immediately.
- Negotiator: an ability to best negotiate with people and reach an agreement.
- Delegator: an ability to delegate authority and tasks to colleagues and subordinates.
- Communicator: building and maintaining effective communication channels between team members.
- Good Organizer: skills for planning and scheduling events (like meetings, workshops, training, etc.).
- Competent and Consistent Planner: skills for creating plans and implementation guides.
- Estimator and Analyst: abilities for defining budgets based on cost estimations.
You can attend special classes and training courses to define and improve these skills and abilities. In addition, many agencies and online platforms provide certified PM training services like the American Management Association, Master of Project Academy, Ideou, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and more.
Also, self-education will help you accomplish the objectives of your project management career. You can read online articles, guides, white papers, forums, and other material dedicated to skills development and improvement. For example, try SimpliLearn, the University of Adelaide, and Oxford Home Study College’s Project Management short course.
3. Get the Right Experience as Volunteer or Intern
Real-world experience is always a must-have for driving a project management career. Why? Because most companies prefer hiring people who have tried themselves in project environments and used their skills and abilities in practice. With the right experience, it is easier to be employed or even get a promotion.
That’s why you need to consider gaining real project-related experience. One of the best ways is through volunteering. By becoming a volunteer, you get many opportunities to gain real-life experience and lead your project management career path.
You can volunteer for non-profit and government organizations involved in some projects. Once employed as a volunteer, you must apply the concepts you have learned. Also, you can seek a good mentor and ask questions regarding better planning and management.
Anyway, you must be attentive and do your best to build professional relationships that pave the way for a successful career in project management.
Project Management Activities
You’ll have to deal with various activities as a successful project manager. Your abilities to fit in with changes and address challenges will help you carry out PM activities and accomplish projects as per stakeholder specifications.
Some of the activities you’ll have to deal with in your project management career are as follows:
- Planning and goal setting
- Analyzing and evaluating the work
- Managing risks and issues
- Estimating and allocating resources
- Acquiring, building, and training teams
- Managing tasks and job assignments
- Controlling work progress
- Tracking and measuring project performance
- Reporting on project health
- Forecasting future trends
- Managing project portfolios and programs
Understand a Project’s Lifecycle
A project manager’s job is to select the proper methodology to deliver the project according to the requirements. Therefore, when you start your PM career, you need to know in what stages to plan and deliver your projects.
There is a typical project lifecycle that consists of the following stages:
- Conceptualization – to set the scope of work, identify the client specifications, and take care of necessary resources, incl. labor, time, money, technology, etc.
- Development – to plan and design the project according to the client’s specifications.
- Implementation – to perform the project according to the plan and to address all changes that raise and impact the performance.
- Closure and Follow-up – to complete the work, terminate the project, ensure the continuation of support of end users, and document lessons learned.
Starting a project management career requires the proper skill set, special certified training, and real-world experience.
Besides, you’ll need to know and implement best practices and activities of project management to accomplish your projects within client specifications. You must also have a clear idea of the lifecycle stages to process the work an
Before starting your first project management job, you must brush up on the different aspects of planning and managing a project. The three essentials are Education, Skills, and Experience.
Besides, you’ll need to know and implement best practices and activities of project management to accomplish your projects within client specifications. It would help if you also had a clear idea of the lifecycle stages to process the work and produce desired results.