You’ve put time and effort into developing your career as a project manager (PM), but have you reached your full potential? Below, we’ll detail five strategies you can use to develop yourself and continue building your skillset as a project manager.
1). Find a mentor in the project management space
There are many benefits to finding a mentor in the project management space. Mentors can help answer questions and provide tangible guidance around common situations project managers encounter such as “how do I deal with difficult team members”, “how do I manage risk to scope, budget, resources, or timelines”, “how to I ensure leadership is looped into progress”, and many others. While it is always best to follow the methodology and approach set forth by the organization you are working for, having a third-party to provide supplemental guidance can help provide fresh perspective and insight as well.
2). Ask for 360-degree feedback from all levels of your projects to identify areas for improvement
Feedback is critical to continued growth as a project manager. As a PM, you are typically working and communicating with many individuals at all levels of an organization, which requires you to know your audience and communicate accordingly. Asking for 360-degree feedback provides insight into how the individuals around you perceive your performance. This includes feedback around your strengths and areas for improvement, which you may or may not be aware of, and can help reinforce positive behaviors and uncover potential blind spots to address going forward.
3). Obtain project management certification(s)
There are numerous project management certifications that can be obtained depending on your level of experience and background. Two of the most highly recognized certifications include the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). There are many other more niche certifications available that apply to specific project management methodologies.
4). Attend project management conferences or network online through project management forums such as LinkedIn
It is important for project managers to stay current on project management industry trends, technologies and changes to methodology, as well as to stay connected to a larger project management network. A great way to achieve this is by attending popular project management conferences, webinars, and trainings hosted by experts within the field. A great way to achieve this is by becoming a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and reviewing their training/networking/conference options regularly and attending one per quarter if possible. There are also many networking groups on social media sites such as LinkedIn that provide opportunities to connect with other like-minded professionals.
5). Seek growth/stretch opportunities and create a PM tool kit that can be leveraged within your organization
If your organization does not already have a standard set of project management tools, creating one that can be used across all projects could be a great stretch opportunity, and could also provide significant value to your organization. Common tools used during the lifecycle of a standard project include a project charter, project plan, RAID log (a project organization tool designed to track risks, actions, issues, and decisions), weekly status update – more tips on these here –, meeting minutes, steering committee deck, budget tracking mechanism, and lessons learned tracking, among others that may be specific to your organization. We recommend thinking critically about the tools that you are using today and figuring out how to templatize them for others to use.
For more information on Project Status meetings and strategies you can implement for effective project work, check out our blog piece on “4 Tips for Effective Project Status Meetings” here.
For more project learning and strategic content centered around the intersection of people, process, and technology, view the library of session recordings from the 2021 Elire Strategy Summit here. In the meantime, view the webinar recording for “Project Management Success – Tools and Templates to Drive Performance” and discover tangible tools to deliver project management success.