Project Management

Reflections From 25 Years as an Independent PM

Following 20 years at a large Canadian telecommunications firm, Bruce established the project management consulting firm Solutions Management Inc (SMI). Since 1999, he has provided contract project/program management services, been a source for project management support personnel and created/delivered courses to over 7,000 participants in Canada, the United States and England.

In my article 5 Myths About Project Management Freelancing, I debunked five common myths individuals may have heard regarding becoming an independent project manager. The article outlined that there are no shortcuts to success, that copious free time is unlikely, and that it is highly unusual for it to be a carefree route to financial independence.

Thinking of the myths and realities caused me to reflect on my nearly 25 years of independence. My hope with this article is that it gives aspiring independent project managers food-for-thought and creates opportunities for fellow entrepreneurs to reflect, compare and comment on their journey.

How it started
As noted in that article, the lure of the hyper-active technology sector—coupled with forecasts of skilled labor shortages—was too enticing to ignore. It felt like the perfect opportunity to make a career lifestyle change.

I had worked in various technical and management roles at a large telecommunications firm. I had been treated well and was provided ample training and plenty of career opportunities. I liked the work and my coworkers. Why then would I give it up?

Frankly, having arrived at a middle-management role at under 40 years old, I was struggling to see my next career opportunities. My sense was that the expectation of higher levels of management would demand more commitment than I was prepared …

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"Familiarity breeds contempt -- and children."

- Mark Twain