Tips for professional development in project management
Professional development is important for almost all professional fields. Most managers and executives have long recognized that it pays to take a closer look at this topic. A successful article on the subject can be found on the Girlsguidetopm.com website and it is written by Elizabeth Harrin, who is dedicated to demystifying project management. She is the author of several books that are all about tools and techniques in project management. In this article she gives tips to all colleagues and interested people for their professional development and they are not typical 08/15 tips. Elizabeth Harrin knows that most managers have little time and little budget. Moreover, professional development is hardly on top of anyone's priority list. Below we summarize her tips for you.
After being clear about your goals, you can better tackle your own future.
What is professional development?
Elizabeth Harrin emphasizes that professional development can consist of both formal training and YouTube videos, but also learning by doing. Anything that advances one's skills can be professional development. But to move forward, you need a plan. Whether it's technical skills, public speaking, or getting certified, after you figure out what you want to do, where you want to be in a few months or years, and what your next step will be in your personal and professional development, you're ready to go. All you need is discipline and a few tricks of the trade to help you stick with it. There doesn't have to be money involved. Soft skills can very often be acquired without financial outlay and they may well make the difference in your next promotion.
Keep a diary
It may sound silly, but often the simplest tricks are the most efficient. You don't have to write a novel, not even a whole page. Just put a few key words and maybe sentences on paper every day. Note what worked well and what was difficult at work. Maybe jot down thoughts about your career. Is that too weird for you? Then try another way that makes you feel a little less weird. Consistently take five minutes each day to reflect on the thoughts that should have gone in the journal. Don't think about the usual work issues, what your clients think, or how you might move the project forward. Think exclusively about your career. The idea of visualizing where you see yourself in five years isn't new, but it's still a good one.
You've probably heard this tip many times, too. But Elizabeth Harrin also swears by it. If you want to develop, you can't rely solely on your own judgment. This can go wrong in both directions. Either you feel like you're making real progress, but it's a false conclusion, or you let failures drag you down too much and don't recognize your progress. In either case, you need independent judgment. From whom can you get this? Some people find someone in their family who can be mercilessly honest and whom they trust. Of course, you must not choose someone who is too polite or from whom you do not want to hear criticism. A good colleague is often the obvious choice, someone who can judge how you are doing on the job and at the same time be a kind of confidant on a human level. A supervisor can also help in many endeavors, as managers are used to giving honest criticism and find it easier to be a little more blunt. A great way that will also enrich your life is to find a real friend at work or someone who does a similar job perhaps at another company. As like-minded people with similar goals, or a completely different goal but the same determination, you can work wonders together. Take your workout buddy as a comparison. If they have arranged to go to the gym twice a week, most people go significantly more often than if they go alone. This is due to "peer pressure" and mutual motivation. If you are unmotivated, your buddy will give you the proverbial slap. On other days, it's the other way around. That's how it can work on the job, too. Find someone who also has a goal in mind and the will to achieve it, and make a pact. In the best case, a real friendship will develop. If not, you will at least have a partner who will help you in your development.
Read and listen
Take every opportunity to educate yourself. Read books, magazines and online articles on various topics. Politics, society, finance, psychology, all of these can help you get ahead because they broaden your horizons. Also, read books on the topics that are close to your heart right now. In professional development there are numerous topics as well as technical and professional. Attend conferences, seminars, lectures, which are often free. Watch webinars or online lectures. Discuss with colleagues and people from a variety of industries to get other perspectives. Social networking is also an important point, because not only will you get to contacts who may eventually give you that crucial tip on your dream job, but you will also get to a lot of information.
Simply invest a little more
Try to be better at your job. Better than the others and better than you were yesterday. Pick one thing you want to do especially well and do it well. If you can spare the time and have a small budget for your professional development, consider a certification. It doesn't have to be an MBA, start with seminars on a variety of topics - we at IAPM offer a wide range here, for example. In some companies a certification may be less important, but especially large successful employers often prefer to hire someone who can also prove on paper that he has a clue about methodology. If you are really a good manager, then certification will not only be easy for you, but will give you a new insight and open up further perspectives.
Author: IAPM internal
Key words: Project management, Personal development, Further training, Certification
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