Friday, April 13, 2012

PM Insights: Career Path Woes

Over the next few weeks here on the Project World blog we're going to be featuring some of the insights shared at the 2011 Your Space session at the ProjectWorld® & World Congress for Business Analysts® event.

One of our most popular topics at the 2011 Your Space was Table 3: Career Pathing

Many of our attendees have reached a level of PM or BA certification and are now looking to move up in their careers. In fact, one 2011 session was titled "Congratulations, You're Certified! Now What?" and Chuck Millhollan spoke spoke extensively on this topic as well.

The #PMChat community on LinkedIn recently covered this topic with a poll, "Does your company have defined career paths for Project Managers?" and 90% of those answering reported "No"

So are PMs and BAs universally at a loss when it comes to Career Pathing? Our participants at Table three gathered some insights and takeaways from the conference that could help solve this problem.

• Cultivate Transferable Skills: Soft-skills are learned, not taught. Certification is base-line to open the door for many PM or BA jobs, but social skills (interaction), communication and connection can give you that leg up. Secondly, ask "what do you want to do?" Focus on your strengths, you may already have the skills, but need to recognize then, seek a mentor for assistance.

• Expand Job Scope: Our participants at Table three identified a common path: College entry to Business Analyst to Program Manager, Project Coordinator or Internal Consultant. But noted that it is hard to find a path once PMO or Project manager. Expand your job scope through management leadership skills or consider senior level consulting. 

• How to keep up and move forward: Our team suggested staying energized and keeping up with current practices in the profession by joining professional societies (or attending events such as PW&WCBA?). Plus, diversify your teams and learn from your colleagues.

What would you add? What is the best bit of career pathing advice you have received?

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA and the voice behind the @Project_World twitter. She may be reached at

No comments: