4 Secret Weapons to Win the Battle for Your Project Management Career

Do you feel a sinking feeling inside when you think about what you can do to improve your project management skills?
Are you worried that it won’t suffice, or that you don’t know what else you don’t know?
It’s a fear many project managers have, the fear of not being prepared for when the opportunity presents itself.
There is a way to overcome this fear. It will take some effort…are you ready?
Describe the End State
As with any project, it is important to have a clear idea of the final state. While you won’t be able to know everything, you can choose a few things that are important to you.
“If you aim at nothing you will hit it every single time.”? Zig Ziglar
These are your anchor points. These anchor points should be documented in a way that you can see them often to remind you of the goal. They will change over time, but that’s okay. You will find new goals as you learn more.
Consistent, Sustainable Action
Take baby steps.
This is the one thing that I have learned through my years of experience in organizational change management, personal productivity studies and continuous improvement methods:
Progress is only possible through consistent, sustainable action. This is a marathon and not a sprint.
You should set aside 15 minutes each day to work towards your goals.
Do not try to conquer the entire world in one day. You’ll be amazed at how much progress you have made in a year.
Limit Work in Progress (WIP).
Failure will be the result of trying to tackle too many fronts simultaneously.
It is impossible to read 10 books, complete project management training, and then go for your PMP certification all at once. This will lead to a less effective and sustainable effort on all fronts.
Keep in mind your definition of the end state. Keep this in mind as you prioritize the things that will make you successful. Start with the most important and work your way down.
Find Inspiration
This is not just about getting knowledge and experience in project managing.
You must also be inspired. It is important to find someone who can help you get your goals moving.
There are many sources of inspiration. In my early years, inspiration came from the Project Management Podcast and from interacting with other project managers online via this blog, forums, and others. My exuberant professor and my friends, who were equally passionate about project management, were other sources of inspiration.
You couldn’t get my attention away from project management because I was so inspired. (Oh, wait, you still can’t.)
Since I’ve been doing this for years, I find inspiration in helping budding project managers through my training and by interacting with them via this blog as well as the many forums and other blogs. My teams are also a great source for inspiration, as I work with them to improve our work every day using tools like Kanban.
Each step is a little.