Project Management

Career Crossroads: What Can PMs Do When They Max Out Opportunities?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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 [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I once heard from a project manager who felt as though she was at a crossroads in her career. She had been managing projects within the same organization for around 12 years and had gradually gained seniority.

Her employer had three grades of PM—junior, intermediate and senior—and she had now reached that senior level. With that had come the opportunity to lead larger, more important projects, as well as to be involved in more complex initiatives. She was thoroughly enjoying her work, but still wanted to continue advancing her career.

In conversations with her manager, the only career progression options that she was being given saw her moving away from direct project management accountabilities. There were suggestions of becoming a program manager, of moving into the PMO in a consulting and support role, or of becoming an internal mentor to less experienced project managers.

All of these offered a little more seniority and the remuneration that goes with that, and they could represent the start of a next phase of this PM’s career path. But she wanted to keep leading projects, and she reached out to me for ideas and suggestions.

Tough choices
This isn’t a scenario that every PM is going to find themselves in, but it’s also not that unusual. Organizations only carry out so many projects, and when you have reached the point where you are…

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