Ah, skill sets! One of the top business buzz-phrases of the decade.
You may have heard it said that promotions of yesteryear were rewards for a job well-done, but promotions today are based on the skill sets you bring to the new job.
This continual need to add to and sharpen the tools in your belt is both a burden and a blessing. With this "be agile or die" mindset, jobs that used to be routine are morphing into dances where the steps and partners are ever-changing, and this spells opportunity.
One of the top things you can do shore up your marketability for internal and external positions is add project management training to your skill set.
Project management training offers a uniquely broad scope of growth opportunities. It is not just about technical skills, planning or leadership. A trained and seasoned project manager must utilize all three capabilities to be effective, and each one of them has crossover benefits in other business functions.
Let's dig into these three growth opportunities gained through a project management training program:
- Technical skills: These are the skills that come most readily to mind, since project management is rife with models, charts and buzzwords that form a whole new lexicon and structure for your thinking. In project management, you employ logic, but the logic is channeled in a very specific way. Sharing this "new language" with a team enables you to accomplish things efficiently, without the time-consuming task of being a constant interpreter within your group.
- Planning skills: The ultimate purpose of project management is to enable effective planning. By this point in your career, you are probably adept at planning business meetings, and perhaps a few kids' schedules, not to mention doing volunteer work and leading a social life simultaneously. Take the variables in that juggling act and multiply them, and you have a sense for how some projects can feel. Changes in lead times, delivery dates, customer specs, personnel, unexpected supplier delays and material defects - no project is spared many of these elements. But project management tools help you stay above the panic zone and smoothly plan for and around these shifting variables. There is hardly a more valuable career skill than this.
- Leadership skills: We can define leadership as the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals. It's the visionary and people management part of the job. Project management training, practiced over multiple projects, naturally develops the leader in everyone. The confidence that this proven methodology provides, the ability to bring a common focus and rubric to an assigned project, helps free you, as project leader, to handle the people issues that are part and parcel of any workplace initiative. Project management training programs provide an organic means of turning new or aspiring leaders into confident, effective leaders.
The marketplace speaks
Recently, the Project Management Institute asked member companies about their plans to add or reduce staffing, according to San Diego State University, and found that a quarter of those who planned overall reductions still intended to add project managers. Plus, project managers who are certified make almost $14,000 more per year than their peers who have not earned certificates.
A study by the Anderson Economic Group expanded on the research from PMI, the source noted, projecting that 1.2 million project management jobs will be available in 2016, and 15.7 million positions between 2010 and 2020.
On your schedule
If you are contemplating a project management training program, you may be someone who has been tapped for future leadership or would like to be. In either case, you have a full load of current responsibilities, and taking time away for training may be an issue. Flexible project management training at your own pace is a very practical solution.
While group classes offer some advantages, including various opportunities for synergistic learning and small group follow-up, taking the courses on your own time offers other perks. This enables you to absorb and practice principles and methods at a pace that works for you. If the new management mantra is "agility," your schedule could certainly benefit from some more flexibility.