So, you’ve decided to become a project manager (PM)? Congratulations! When starting out at something new, like everyone else, you probably feel intimidated, but excited. Here are four tips for starting out as a new project manager:
1. Get involved with your local PMI chapter
Your local Project Management Institute (PMI) chapter has a lot to offer their members. Some chapters are more active than others; but, at a minimum, they have a group of professionals at all skill levels for you to learn from. Senior level PMs often attend dinner meetings and love to share their knowledge with new PMs.
2. Document what you need to apply for your PMP while you are working on projects
Often times, people wait until they are applying for their Project Management Professional certification before they document the projects they worked on. This makes it hard to remember the key components of the project. If you document as you go, you will have all the information on hand.
3. Find a mentor
A strong project manager who is willing to mentor you will be a valuable asset to your growth on your career path. When looking for a mentor, not only is it important that you both feel connected, but also that they excel in places you know you need to improve.
4. Learn to take achievable action items and follow-through on them
All action items should have the following parts:
- An actionable statement that includes a verb and tells the reader what is supposed to be done
- An action item owner: If the action item isn’t done by the due date, follow up on the status and ask for a new due date. Typically, I default to one week from when the action item is captured or at the next meeting in a recurring series, unless it is clearly more urgent or is something long-term
- A due date: If the due date cannot be determined, it should be when you will plan to follow up on the action item again
Welcome to the world of project management! These quick tips may not have all the answers, but they will help you get started on the right foot. And, someday soon, you will be the one giving advice and mentoring a new up-and-comer.