How to Transition into Project Management

ProjectManager.com

Project management is a growth industry. If you want to get on that career rocket and get more PM training, then watch Jennifer Bridges, PMP, and learn how to blast off.

Here’s a screenshot of the whiteboard for your reference!

how to get into project management as a career

In Review – How to Transition into Project Management:

Jennifer noted at the top of the video how much she loves to hear someone ask her how to move into a project manager position. It shows intention.

Many people are what she and other formally trained PMs calls “accidental project managers,” which means that they’ve found themselves leading a project without any targeted PM training or experience. Often these people will forge ahead like any of us would when given an assignment. We try to do our best, but without the training and the skills specific to managing a project, there could be problems.

We all have some experience with projects, as they’re anything we set out to do with a goal or project to achieve at the end of it. What many of us didn’t know at first is that there are specific methodologies designed to reign in these endeavors to make them more efficient and productive.

You might find yourself in a different position at work, when the job of managing some project is thrown on your desk. Now what do you do?

Training

Regardless of how you find yourself at the door of project management there are two ways to develop the skill set you’ll need to successful lead that project.

  1. Formal Training: You could study to become a project manager at school. There are many academic institutions that offer a degree in the field. There are also project management certifications, though many of those require that you first have some experience.
  2. Informal Training: Sometimes the organization your employed at has in-house PM training to bring you up to snuff on your new responsibilities. There are also mentors who can help shepherd you into the industry.

Experience

Then there’s the real-life versus book smart debate. While there’s no answer to that question, probably both is best, there are several ways for the college student with their eye on project management and the accidental project manager to garnish the experience they need to help them lead their project to a successful end.

  • Co-Op: A great asset for the college grad is to join a co-op and take on the project management responsibilities there.
  • Internship: There’s also the tried and true approach of working as an intern while still in school, some positions of which even over a small salary.
  • Volunteer: A college student can also volunteer their services and learn the industry from the ground up, which looks great on a resume. This is also a great way for someone already working to help transition into a new position as project manager, by showing initiative.
  • Step Up: If you’re already working and want to transition, just raise your hand when the boss is seeking help. By showing enthusiasm and interest, you can put yourself in a place of advancement.
  • Shadow: Workers can also ask to shadow a project manager and learn from them as they work.
  • Mentor: Having a mentor is different from shadowing, as it’s not more a person who can offer you guidance through your transition on the job.
  • Coach: An employee can seek help from a coach, who like in sports can show you want you’re doing wrong and keep you on your game.

How to Get There

There are a lot of pathways for a person to get into the project management profession. Best of all, it’s a growth industry. There is a need for talented project managers. If you want to be there, you can get there by following Jennifer’s practical advice.

Pro-Tip: Whether your new to project management or trying to get in the door, the one thing that you both share is a need to never feel complacent. That’s the kiss of death in an industry that is constantly changing. So, to boost your PM career work on expanding your network, finding industry advocates and make sure your reputation is sound.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription:

Today, we’re talking about how to transition into project management. And I love this question, because when someone asked me this question, I know that we’re truly moving from the accidental to the intentional project manager.

So sometimes we can all find ourselves as the accidental project manager. And when that happens, we can be at the right place or the wrong place at the wrong time, and find ourselves without this experience or the skills we need to perform that role.

So let’s look at some of the situations where we can move into project management.

So it really depends on how we get there. It’s really looking at where you are and where you wanna be. And there’s a path to get there. And there’s specific training and experience that you need to perform that role.

So let’s take a couple of scenarios. So it could be the college graduate, someone who’s finished college and they’re looking to get into project management. So they’re planning their role and their path and their career.

So for the training, maybe they, you know, already had some formal training in college or in the university that they attended. Maybe there’s even some informal training, maybe online or other sources that they were able to reach to get that.

And then experience, there could be, like, coop opportunities, an internship, even volunteer work in a community or an association.

Another scenario could be a person is in another role, maybe it could be in their company or even maybe outside of a company and they’re looking to be a project manager in another one.

So there could be formal training within a company. It could be formal training in a college or a local university. Again, there’s so many sources now for informal project management training online.

And then the experience could be if the person is in the company. It’s like stepping up, like racing your hand at work, volunteering maybe for a special project.

Another way could be shadowing a project manager that you know and just get a feel for the day to day activities and be able to perform some of those roles, working side by side that project manager. And you can also engage a mentor, someone who has been there, done that, gone from where you are to where you wanna go, so that they can mentor you on how to get there.

You can also engage a coach, someone who can teach you the skills you need in order to perform those roles. And again, there’s also volunteer opportunities in your community or other associations where you can take on those projects.

So these are just a few methods to get the training experience you need to get you where you are to where you wanna be. And if you need a tool or resources to help you in your project management transition, then sign up for our software now at projectmanager.com.

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