Designing a career path in project management

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If you have project management responsibilities in your job, having a best practice method helps your performance, skills development and – ultimately – your career development.

Why? The fact is best practice – such as PRINCE2® and PRINCE2 Agile® – is proven to work and provides the basics of what you need in project management.

For example, I’ve put my entire team through PRINCE2 Agile because it’s well adapted to the world we live in now. It combines a method that’s well respected and ensures your skills remain relevant if you land in an agile working environment.

However, it’s not uncommon for people to fall into project management roles without thinking of it as a defined career path. Which is why I think AXELOS® ProPath Project Expert (and its agile equivalent) helps to focus professionals’ minds on where they want to go.

It isn’t just about someone telling you what your next step is but offering a route for people to follow and progress through best practice. The variety of project and programme management certifications can confuse new trainees, so having a recommended path towards a destination is really important.

But the skills you gain are also vital. The latest Wellingtone State of Project Management research showed that “stakeholder engagement” comes out as the top challenge. This is a key influencing skill for today and is at the core of PRINCE2, PRINCE2 Agile and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) certifications, which form AXELOS ProPath (Agile) Project Expert.

Why add Management of Risk (M_o_R) to the mix?

Along with project and programme management knowledge, the ability to manage risks is becoming more important.

Again, our State of Project Management research has shown risk management to be something people are doing less well, though it’s extremely valuable.

Project managers tend to engage in risk identification, but stop at risk management. Organizations are seeking out these skills, so it should be the next stage of knowledge that project and programme professionals focus on. Without it, change initiatives will be constantly running late and be subject to re-planning, while forever managing expectations.

The approaches in M_o_R® ensure organizations are continually improving project management practice.

Programme management – the next step up for project managers

Project managers can exist in a bubble: focused on their team, stakeholders and customers. Programme management – particularly supported by MSP – pulls people out of the bubble and gives them a wider view; acknowledging more the people dimension than just technical application of change.

These skills help professionals focus on the beneficial outcomes for the organization and behavioural change.

Combining multiple certifications in AXELOS ProPath Project Expert

By pulling together the three certifications in AXELOS ProPath Project Expert, practitioners build a toolkit they can apply in their workplace.

It’s not only about picking the right tool for the job but having confidence to deal with whatever situation you’re faced with. Even if you have become a project manager by accident, the best practice methods give you a view of the possible, a pathway to help see where you are today, where you want to be and how to get there.

Also, you might be a professional operating in an industry for a long time but haven’t updated your skills recently. Investing in training and development helps you see your work in a different light and continue your learning journey as the world moves on. It’s recognizing that, as professionals, we’re never a “done deal”.

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25 Jul 2021 Hendrik Moller
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Very useful article on the different certifications available to existing project managers to support further development.
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