Creating Your Dream Project Management Opportunity

On today’s #PMChat, we will be talking about how you can create that dream Project Management opportunity – your “Big Break”.

What’s Your Dream Opportunity?

We all come into Project Management from different paths – some of us are “accidental” Project Managers, while others choose a career path – maybe they start as Developers or Business Analysts, build up some experience and decide that riding the PM bicycle through the searing flames of hell without a helmet or any protective gear would be a satisfying career choice!

However we get here, we all have our own personal aspirations. We all have project management spaces that we dream of working in.
NASA, Antarctic research stations (my personal favorite), Airports, Olympic Games.

But how do we make that dream opportunity become a reality? How do we create that Project Management Big Break?

Sitting underneath every Big Break is a combination of experience, knowledge, network, perseverance, daring and good luck. So how do we pull all these ingredients together? How do we build experience in an area where we have none? How do we gain exposure and credibility when we are new to the field? How do we find and link up with those all-important “connectors”, the people who can help you find the right opportunities at the right time?

I love reflecting on the buzzwords and phrases that our new Project Managers are familiar with.

  • Volunteering
  • Reading widely
  • Researching target companies
  • Networking
  • Joining special interest groups
  • Demonstrating methodology and structure when there is none
  • Documenting what you can do, and doing it
  • Building a personal brand

Geoff Crane (The Paper Cut Project Manager) is one of my favorite Project Managers on the planet. Geoff compiled and edited a wonderful ebook “52 Tips to Break Into Project Management” which is aimed at people looking to break into the profession. It’s definitely worth checking out. In “52 Tips”, Geoff talks about four key steps to breaking into Project Management

  1. Finding that job opportunity with the right company
  2. You’re in the company, now you need to find the right project to lead
  3. You’re managing a project, now you need to find the right skillset
  4. You are developing your skills and experience, now you need to find your Project management style

PMChat Questions

During this #PMChat, we will take Geoff’s thinking and apply it to people who are already Project Managers, but who want to find that Big Break.

Q1. How did you get your start in Project Management? Are you an accidental or deliberate PM?

OK, daydream time. Imagine your dream PM role, industry, opportunity. You’ve never been in that space before.

Q2. What is your dream Project Management opportunity? Where would you work if you could one place?

Q3. What can you do to find an opening in your dream Project Management space? How can you help create that opportunity?

So you have a place in the dream company but entry level. You need to find a way to create experience, build your profile.

Q4. How can you build that initial industry or domain experience when you have none? How can you get that initial exposure?

Q5. How can you build your PM credentials or stature within your new team? What can you do to show your unique value?

Your dream role will require you to KNOW certain things – you will need certifications, domain knowledge etc. What else do you need to succeed in your dream role? Is knowledge enough?

Q6. You bring the “must-have” certifications to your new role, but is knowledge enough? What else do you need to stand apart?

Q7. In your case, how do you extend your Project Management learning outside of “traditional” classroom or online learning?

Our final question is a chance to reflect on your own path to that dream Project Management role.

Q8. What are the steps you can take to move towards your dream PM role? What can you do to create that big break?