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 All Change: Getting Into Project Management | PM Tools - PM Tools

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All Change: Getting Into Project Management

Nobody stays in one career all their life nowadays. Some go from teaching into law. Nurses enter the police force. Actors become politicians.Project Management offers the greatest opportunity for a career change. Demanding and rewarding in equal measure, it draws on transferable skills rather than industry specialisation.Do you have the skills to be a Project Manager? How can you prove these skills to your new employer? What do you have to do to make your career transition as smooth as possible?Are you already a Project Manager?You don’t need the words ‘Project Manager’ on your contract in order to have project management responsabilities.The basic role of a project manager is to organise staff and resources to achieve a long-term goal. Have you ever organised a fundraising marathon or the introduction of fair-trade coffee into your department? Were you responsible for setting up the Secret Santa or the office trip to Brighton?If so, then you have worked as a Project Manager. The more experience you can demonstrate, the greater your chances of securing a high-level Project Management position.Key skills required by Project Managers•    CommunicationYou must be able to present your Business Case, write progress reports and maintain clear communication with project staff and stakeholders at every level. If the Project Manager fails to communicate, then everybody will have different expectations and understanding of the project’s goals and status.•    OrganisationAre you obsessively self-organised? Do you write lists for everything, even lists of your lists? Do you schedule your Saturday mornings so that not a minute is wasted?If so, Project Management and you could be a perfect match. Only with solid organisational skills can a Project Manager keep a tight rein on project planning and progress.•    Analytical ThinkingThings will go wrong on your project. As the Project Manager, it is up to you to sort them out. Can you come up with the solution that nobody else could quite reach? Are you up for the challenge of dealing with every obstacle and risk before it arises, without even a blip in your project progress report?What opportunities are there for you?Moving into a Project Management role could mean leaving your current industry and developing your project management skills as an independent specialisation. To succeed in this, you need to have demonstrable project management experience and abilities. Alternatively, you might be seeking a project management role within your current industry. Advanced specialist knowledge of your subject off-sets a lack of project management experience, although awareness of formal project management methods is essential for getting that first job offer. What should you do?A Project Management qualification is essential. PRINCE2TM is currently the most popular project management method used by organisations in Europe, and is government standard in the UK.The Foundation level qualification demonstrates awareness of the PRINCE2 project management method, and it is vital for anybody wishing to work on a project team.Becoming a certified Registered Practitioner is an excellent move for anybody seeking a Project Manager position. The qualification demonstrates analytical skills and Project Management capabilities.You might also consider getting some work experience, either with a voluntary organisation or through a secondment opportunity within your current organisation. Remember: the more experience, qualification and dedication that you show, the more valuable you will on a Project Manangement team.PRINCE2™ is a Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce. “PMI” is a service and trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc. which is registered in the United States and other nations.

Simon Buehring is a project manager, consultant and trainer. He works for KnowledgeTrain which offers training in project management and PRINCE2 trainingin the UK and overseas. Simon has extensive experience within the IT industry in the UK and Asia. He can be contacted via the KnowledgeTrain PRINCE2 project management training website.
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