It has been said that the personality traits of a good senior project manager are similar to those of an entrepreneur. The characteristics that immediately come to mind include leading people, managing risks, and driving towards a clearly defined goal. Another similarity is a feeling of “I’m on my own”. You might be one of only a few people in your organisation recognised as a project manager and your peer group is spread thin juggling projects.
A corporate PMO can provide a home for project managers. A source of best practice, lessons learned, shared knowledge and experience. Larger clients of ours are encouraged to establish a community of practitioners, enabling likeminded project professionals to come together on a regular basis.This knowledge sharing is invaluable and if supported correctly can be the catalyst for driving towards higher levels of project management maturity.
Most of us are not able to benefit from the corporate community of practitioners support network, so where is your support network?
In an industry where so many project professionals are out in the field on their own, the value and responsibility of a professional association is significant. The APM FIVE Dimensions of Professionalism provide a universal framework for your career development. This provides clear guidance to professionals at every level and I would particularly draw your attention to the new APM Competence Framework. The framework enables you to benchmark your knowledge and experience. Establish your own benchmark and identify targets for personal development.
But how can you tap into knowledge and experience from other practitioners? Again, the APM fills the void for those out on their own. Would you like to read practical guidance on project monitoring and control, establishing a maturity model, sponsoring change, managing risk, and even the mystical art of EVA? There are over 20 guides available at www.apm.org.uk/books, many of which can be downloaded for free by APM members.
Your career is your own personal project. If you do have a corporate PMO then I would recommend establishing a community of practitioners for regular knowledge sharing.
Either way, take a step back and define your career development path for this year. Keep it simple but set clear targets and do make use of the tools the APM has created for you.
Vince Hines is managing director at Wellingtone Project Management, an APM career development partner.
Other blogs in this series:
- Don’t be afraid to move industry. Your skills have universal relevance
- What are you worth?
- Being 'social' is essential to your career success
- Making the jump from project coordinator to project manager
- Is it time to go contracting?
- How good are your project management skills?