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Topics: Career Development, Leadership, Organizational Project Management
How can one progress from being a Project Manager to becoming an executive?
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I thought becoming a PMO Director or Director of Project Management was the only way to enter the executive ranks, but I'm wondering if there might be another path forward. Any thoughts?
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@Eric, this is a good question that may have multiple variations for an answer. In Public sector the demonstration of project management skills/education/expertise is valuable and well taken into consideration in career advancement /progression.The structured recruitment process requires proven experience that is focused mainly on the strategic area rather than the operations; this comes along with management of budget and human resources that are usually done by project managers and are always in high demand. Public Sector in Canada has a variety of venues for entering into the executive cadre: from leadership programs, to internships, and developmental opportunities where one can acquire the proven skills and experience. A parallel move from a PMO Director of PM to an Director level in any other sector is always an opportunity.
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@ Eric , It all depends on the organisation & sector we work. With the skills we posses, the experience and knowledge through project management expertise we can move to the executive level. There are the proven cases.
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Eric, the mindset of project managers, especially from the agile space, and executives differs. In order to climb that ladder, you have to be savvy in politics, which many PMs do not like (though it would help them to influence stakeholders).

PMs that expanded their capabilities towards an executive mindset are indeed PMO Leaders, but also portfolio managers and program managers, all of which succeed in a more undefined environment.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/thoughts-po...thomas-walenta/
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Eric -

it comes down to personal interest, the relationships you have built in the company, and your ability to perform a role. While PMO leadership is a natural progression for some PM professionals, if you've developed sufficient domain knowledge about a given product, capability or service, you could aspire to a Product Owner/Manager role. I have also seen PM professionals step into COO type roles given the significant overlap in the competencies needed to succeed in both these roles.

Kiron
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It is a hard one, Eric. Lots of factors come in.
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I notice an increasing demand of project management skills and experience in roles such as Associate Director, Director, Strategy Manager, even C suite... In other words, there are plenty oh chances aside from an growth within the PM ladder (i.e. Program Manager, PMO Director, etc.). Sky is the limit.
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Get out of IT.

I don't know if you're in IT, but a speaker I was listening to, several months ago, said something to the effect that, for the most part, people promoted above the Director level do not come from IT. I'm sure this varies across companies and industries.
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It is very dependent on where you work. In some, the functional management path leads to executive roles while the technical path does not.
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Hi Eric,
It would be tad easier if one explores executive roles within the organization. Many companies have internal job postings or requirements. With credible work, how close fit are you for the requirement, tenure within the organization, are some of the criteria’s. Internal folks could be considered and stand better chances, as compared to someone applying externally.
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Hi Eric, my deep conviction is that as a Project Manager you become very skilled in one area by earning a great notoriety, then to become an executive there is so easy. The work you've accomplished earlier do the essential of the job for you.
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