The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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5 Questions For Project Management Career Success

Are you struggling to find your way through this maze that is your project management career?

Struggle no more. Follow this process to the letter and iterate as much as you need to. It will help you get crystal clear on your goals, how to achieve them, and hold yourself accountable for results.

1. What Are My Goals?

Long-term goals and short-term goals go here. Write them down.
Make sure they are SMART goals:

Specific – List the candidate companies you want to work for, specific titles you want to hold, etc.
Measurable – How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
Attainable – Is this within the realm of possibility?  Stretch yourself, but make it realistic.
Relevant – Do your sub-goals support your primary, major goal?
Timeboxed – Give yourself a timeline.  I recommend 1, 3, and 5 or 10 year career goals.

2. Are They Really My Right Goals?

Is this really what you want to do with your career?  This is an important question you should ask yourself.  Make sure you are doing this for the right reasons.

It’s always sad when I speak with someone who has spent years of their life going down a path they thought they ‘should’ be going down when really, it wasn’t right for them. Do not go after a career or job because you are chasing money alone. Have a passion for the work you do, and it won’t feel like work at all.

The same goes for companies you work for. I teach students to target organizations with the attributes to help achieve your goals. You should always target industries and organizations first, specific roles second.

3. What Strategies Can I Use To Achieve My Goals?

Depending on what your goals are, there are a host of strategies or “career trajectories” as I call them.  Plan out your strategy well, so in the next step you can formulate specific tasks that will execute on them.

In the online course I teach, this step includes deciding how to go about targeting specific organizations you want to work for, strategies for building and maintaining professional relationships (otherwise known as networking) on a continuous (not one-time) basis, and what education or certifications or methods of gaining relevant experience can be applied to your unique situation.

4. What Specific Tasks Must I Perform To Achieve My Goals?

This is the work in the trenches.  Connecting with people and building relationships consistently, enhancing your interviewing skills, revising your resume, and many more possibilities to support you strategy.

These are your work packages, your sprint plan or project schedule. Don’t stumble around with a general idea of what to do; get specific and run your career like you would a project.

5. What Have I Done In The Last Week To Achieve My Goals?

The accountability question.

What have you done in the last week to move your career forward in some way?

If the answer is “nothing”, it may be time to turn off the TV and get to work.

Will you leave a comment to add your questions or insight?

About the Author

Josh helps new and aspiring project managers reach their career goals. He has been managing projects in Computing, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Aerospace for over a decade. Josh’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Project Management and he is PMP certified. The best method for tapping into Josh’s knowledge and experience is his training for project management, where Josh shares his best practices for how to get ahead in your project management career and his best practices in specific project management processes.
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