Congratulations on being promoted to project manager… So, what comes next? All of a sudden, your role has evolved from individual contributor to business engine — you’re responsible for streamlining costs, keeping key initiatives on track, and making sure that team members are aligned with projects that meet their strengths.
Adjusting to this new role will be a challenge. There may be times when you feel lost, bogged down, or even nervous. Don’t worry. The following steps can help you navigate this complex journey and excel in your new role:
Step 1: Get to Know Your People
Your team is the heart of your business, and your role as a project manager is to ensure that people are fully harnessing their talents.
A crucial first step? Get to know your team members. Spend time with them to fully understand their strengths, weaknesses, passions, and desires to grow. The more you can understand these motivations, the more empowered your team will be to hit key company milestones.
Step 2: Think About Your Specialty
Project managers are change agents who must be comfortable in extremely dynamic environments. Even though careers and company goals are always changing, there is a strong opportunity to specialize.
You may decide, for instance, that your skills are best aligned with a particular industry — for instance, software, biotech, or civil engineering. You may also decide to focus on a particular piece of technology. Decide what you love to do, and commit your energy to it. By having a firm grasp on your specialty, you will become a natural authority and be able to offer strategic insights.
Step 3: Get Certified
The transition to project manager is a great opportunity to formalize your skill set. The Project Management Institute (PMI), for instance, offers six certification programs.
There programs that cater to entry-level project managers, experienced leaders, and those who manage complex, large-scale initiatives. There are also certifications available to train you in agile methodologies, risk management, and scheduling.
Focus on a certification that either exemplifies your strengths or helps you improve your weaknesses.
Step 4: Keep Your Skills Current
The best project managers are ones that remain close to the trenches. In addition to staying current with certifications and regular team check-ins, it’s important to learn about the technologies that are critical to your business.
What programming languages and development frameworks are valuable to your teams, and why? What new systems are organizations using to keep their teams on track?
Learn about these technologies, hands-on, to understand what your team is experiencing at the ground level. The more current your skills, the more empowered you’ll be to flex to varying organizational demands.
Final Thoughts: Widen Your Perspective
One way to broaden your scope as a project manager is to engage with teams cross-functionally. Collaboration is key for data-driven organizations. The more groups that you can understand and bring together, the more you will develop your skills as a leader across different business functions.
The key to getting started is to just put yourself out there. You’ll make mistakes —don’t worry. Strive to be learning, iterating and improving. Stay confident, and you will be positioned for success.
Modis can take your Project Management career to the next level.
If you’re interested in continuing your career growth in the world of project management, allow Modis to help you get where you want to be. Our clients are interested in the best project management talent in the business. Submit your resume today to unlock your next career opportunity.
We’re also adding new jobs to our bank everyday – many in the in-demand world of project management. Check out all of our available job listings now.