Become a Senior Project Manager
Project management has emerged in the business world as one of the most popular career fields. It encompasses and touches every facet, every business unit of the entire organization from human resources to finance and information technology or services. If you want to become a senior project manager, plan on spending a lot of time achieving this goal.
- Develop the right attitude. You will be working with a broad range of individuals from very diverse backgrounds; many of whom might even be from a different country and not even be located on the same continent. Do not allow a culture clash to be any kind of excuse for not performing the job in a professional manner.
- Set realistic goals. You will not likely be able to walk straight into a senior project manager role. It usually takes many years of experience to achieve such a title. It takes a good deal of education to get a lesser position; and if the educational part is missing, it takes significant experience to achieve that as well. From the ground up, expect no less than 5 years of direct work related experience to get you that senior position; even 10 years is not unrealistic. You must be patient.
- Consider volunteering your time with a notable organization. Churches, open shelters, food pantries; they all need direction in certain areas. Consider volunteering and learning how they do things. Think of a way to help them do what they do, only better. Develop a project plan and present it to them, asking if you can try it out. Get others involved and direct what they do. This is a great way to learn the ropes without having your career on the line; you will gain invaluable experience.
- Find a mentor to help you develop your skills. Project managers are usually eager to help develop others. Project management is unique in that there are many different ways of doing the job, achieving the same results. One way might be better than another, or more efficient. There is always a particular methodology that can be used for a particular problem to solve it in the best, most efficient way possible. Having an experienced mentor teach you in relatively short order what he or she has learned over many years will be an enormous benefit to you.
- Ask lots of questions of your project manager if you are already a member of a project team. The most successful project managers started their careers as business analysts, gaining valuable experience in project management along the way. Many projects are of such a fast pace, there is no extra time for someone to make sure that you are learning the trade. You have to take the initiative and ask questions. A good project manager will have the skills to balance time and effort well enough to be able to meet with you and talk to you about what she or he does. Everyone likes to talk about all the things they do and how well they do them. Take advantage of this situation and learn as much as you can.
- Remember the value of education. In project management work, education is great; however, many companies use one methodology and are resistant to change. Your education, if focused on a way that is not known, proven or complimentary to your organization, will not help you in the best way possible. The most advantageous passage is to gain valuable experience first, add in some additional educational opportunities that will you a wide variety of methodologies and then try these out on very small projects to see how you can do. This is a sure fire way to achieve your goal of becoming a senior project manager.