Project Management Career Development \ The Questions

Career development.

Do those two words make you sigh and make you feel a little guilty at not paying it enough attention or are you on top on your game, got career development all sorted?

In this guest post, Jane Marshall-Nichols from programme and project management training organisation, CITI, reminds you about the simple questions to ask yourself to get you thinking about your career development.

If all you want is a job to pay the bills – then this is probably not for you.

But if you are looking to develop your capabilities to enable you to run more complex, more interesting, projects or programmes or, for a career in professional project and programme management (PPM) then you might find the following of interest.

Having a successful career and becoming a professional doesn’t happen by accident – it takes time, effort and planning – and, of course, planning comes first! You wouldn’t manage a project without carefully thought and planning, isn’t your career as important?

But first, what is your goal? Is it for the short to medium term (over the next 6 to 18 months) or are you thinking about your longer term future?

Does this matter? And is it an easy decision?

Well, ‘yes’ to the first and ‘not always’ to the second.

It matters because the decisions you make now will affect so many other choices you will be faced with later.

And, if it’s not an easy decision – and it often isn’t – talking with a friend or colleague you respect is a good starting point; and if your organisation has a career or development pathway use it to help you with options.

Then step through these questions:

  1. What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? Ask yourself: “What has worked well for me in the past? Did I feel comfortable with delivering my latest project, or were there
    moments when I felt ‘out of my depth’?
  2. Reflect on your recent experiences – especially the successes; what did you find the most rewarding?
  3. Have you set yourself any 3 and 5 year goals? Is what you are doing obviously taking you along the journey that will get you to them? Is what you want achievable with what your
    organisation wants to achieve too?
  4. Consider your current skills, knowledge and experiences – are there any gaps, especially in your experiences and opportunities to apply your knowledge and learning? Does what you
    know and do match the knowledge, skills, attributes, qualifications and experience you will need to achieve your goals?
  5. How do you best learn new things? Do you like to learn-on-the-job, or do you like to do assignments, working mainly on your own, or perhaps you prefer to learn with others in a
  6. Use this information to sketch out a development plan with a realistic timescale. Don’t forget to consider:
    – any relevant qualifications you may need to get
    – opportunities for experiential work?based learning such as going to seminars, networking, ‘lunch and learns’, coaching and mentoring others.

Then share your plan with a professional colleague or your line manager (if you have one) for advice and support.

And finally, record events in your continuing professional development portfolio, encourage feedback and seek advice from colleagues, and share your knowledge and experiences with your colleagues.

Remember delivery is about making it happen – and that everyone deserves to be successful!


Find out more about CITI and their formal learning options or follow them on Twitter

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