That was great! ... now what?

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Many people enjoy working inproject managementbecause of the variety, and to a certain extent the uncertainty, to be a part of unique endeavours, and having the opportunity (and skills) to work across a range of sectors but times are tough and the competition is strong. So how do you stand out and win the next role?

For the last few weeks the world has been focused on the UK as years of complex programmes and projects culminated in a sparkling London Olympiad, but as I watched the opening and closing ceremonies I found myself thinking the same thing:

What now?

Most of the athletes from around the world already know what happens next. Following the closing ceremony those who wish to continue in their sport will rest (possibly with some considerable media attention) and then resume training for the next big event, in most cases with the support and direction of a team of coaching and management staff.

The opening ceremony had me thinking about the teams of project, programme and portfolio professionals for whom the next role may be considerably less certain.

I can imagine that over the past months (or years) the public success of Olympic projects has given a boost to many individual CVs, and with many of these projects drawing to an end at similar times, together with a recession that is reducing spending and investment in major projects, it might start to feel like youre just another face in a crowd ofproject managementprofessionals applying for a role.

As delivery and completion dates arrive it can feel like youre walking towards the edge of the precipice and you wont always have the time or capacity to be applying for the next role before this one concludes.

Like the athletes, taking time to rest and prepare for the next big challenge is critical. If youve been too busy to consider your personal development needs then perhaps it is time to focus on you.

How you choose to develop yourself may mean the difference between standing out and being stood on, and there are a huge number of options available. Perhaps by learning about the latest tool or technique, being up to speed on your sector-specific news, or talking things through with peers or a mentor; with a bit of thought and some self-reflection you can be even more confident the next time you are on the start line.

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Posted by Alastair Smart on 17th Aug 2012

About the Author
I'm a full member of the APM and was previously a People SIG committee member. I am also a PMI member and certified PMP, and a Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Practitioner. I have supported MoD Project Teams within the Submarine and Land Equipment Operating Centres, including work to improve project management culture as part of a major change management project; and am currently working in Ottawa supporting the Canadian DND (Maritime Equipment Program Management) organisation.

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