Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

One of the areas that I get the most questions about from project managers is how best to advance their careers. They are looking for guidance on how to handle a specific opportunity or how to try and achieve a specific goal. I’m not entirely convinced that I am qualified to provide that advice, but as I get asked so often, here’s one man’s view on the things to consider in making your decisions (please don’t take this as gospel, just a little bit more food for thought…).

Develop a strategy
We’re project managers, so we have all heard “fail to plan, plan to fail.” That holds just as true for your own careers. Try and understand what you want from your career and then build a strategy to achieve it. Of course this will evolve and change over time (it’s a plan--it’s supposed to be wrong), but that’s okay-- you can adjust your strategy as you move through your career to ensure that you are still on track.

For most of us, our career is a significant period of time--perhaps 40 years or more (now I’m depressed) and so you need to take the long-term view. You can’t expect to achieve all of your goals in the next three years, but you can put the foundations in place that the career can grow from over time. If you want to move beyond project management and into a more corporate function, think …

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