Project Management

Presentation Recap: Managing Your Career Path Like a Project

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Date


Categories: PMXPO


By: Tyler Norman, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, PMP

I recently presented at the Project Management Institute's PMXPO 2024 event, held on 21 March.  This was a great event with featured speakers, exhibits and networking activities. My presentation, Managing Your Career Path Like a Project, focused on using the project management skills you apply in your day-to-day project management activities to take hold of your career planning process.

Starting with a problem statement on realities for today's average employee, this session laid out a framework and methodology for:

  • Defining your actual dream role of the future
  • Recognizing what it will take to earn that role
  • Performing a personal career audit
  • Analyzing the gap between current and future state you
  • Building a roadmap to future state you

Lastly, the session concluded with some steps to supercharge your career-planning process, including a few you could begin today. Key takeaways included dedicating a minimum of one hour per week to career development, how to build a funnel of mentorship opportunities, to tell your boss directly what opportunities you want, and to embrace opportunities outside of your comfort zone.

During my presentation, I received a lot of great questions that we didn’t get a chance to cover, and my responses are below. 

Q: What advice would you give for implementing a system-wide revamp towards providing all your workforce with these powerful career development skillsets?

A: The best advice I would have for deployment of these methodologies across a broader population would be to share the principles in a fundamental way and with guidance on how to tailor approaches for your staff (who undoubtedly vary in background and skill sets). Next, I would regularly revisit the principles and perhaps even organize smaller working groups to share notes and reinforce behaviors.

Q: The core here is consistency - how did you stay consistent with this practice?

A: The key to maintaining consistency is to systematize these practices, keeping the effort to regularly perform them low. If you make the process a major time and effort lift, it will risk consistency, as it will be more difficult to fit into your schedule. Lastly, be forgiving to yourself. If you miss a period of time, don’t feel that you've lost all progress, but simply pick back up where you left off and continue to build upon yourself.

Q: How do we select a trusted advisor?

A: Finding trusted advisors is a lot like finding best friends. It generally happens organically and is built upon foundational relationships of trust and mentorship. Ask yourself, "Who would I go to if I were facing a challenge in the workplace and wanted to bounce some ideas off of another person I trust?" and you're likely on the right track.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for someone who is changing careers into project management?

A: The principles shared apply, but could be tailored for the specific skillsets required from project managers. Survey project manager roles with companies you would like to work for, and note commonly-listed requirements that you may not have and can target for obtaining. One way to super-charge this transition would be in seeking project management learnings, such as the many offered by PMI.

Q: How do you find mentee opportunities?

A: Joining your local PMI chapter is a great place to start, as many chapters facilitate mentorship programs. Beyond that, identify contacts that you believe you can learn from and ask for mentorship in ways that are low stakes and low time commitment in nature, such as coffee meetings or starting with electronic correspondence.

Closing

I had a great time presenting, and the full presentation will be on demand through 31 January 2025. Visit PMI's PMXPO 2024 for more details.

Posted by Tyler Norman on: April 17, 2024 08:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Kwiyuh Michael Wepngong Financial Management Specialist | US Peace Corps / Cameroon Yaounde, Centre, Cameroon
PMXPO 2024 was great... Thank you

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Aaron Porter IT Project Manager| Blade HQ Pleasant Grove, Ut, USA
You listed some good tips that a lot of people would benefit from. I would, however, shift your mindset, a little. Instead of managing your career like a project, manage it like an operational value stream. Your career is going to involve multiple projects and plenty of non-project activities, as well. I could stretch this out into a more in-depth comparison, but I'm trying something new today and keeping my response short.

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Eduin Fernando Valdes Alvarado Project Manager| F y F Fabricamos Futuro Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia
Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

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Abolfazl Yousefi Darestani Manager, Quality and Continuous Improvement| Hörmann-TNR Industrial Doors Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Thank you for sharing!

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