The Best Teacher You Never Had

A few weeks ago, I was approached by fellow project management blogger Geoff Crane. Long-time readers of my weekly round-ups will recognize the name immediately – Geoff is the man behind PaperCut PM, and one of the funniest guys in our business. He’s also a new college professor, and his first project management class just graduated. To commemorate their milestone (and his), Geoff wanted to give them a going-away present – good advice from practicing project managers on how to get into the field, and how to manage your career once you get in. He’d compile the advice into an e-book, give it to them, and share it with the world. Would I contribute? Of course – I sent him my 300 words the same day!

The class has now graduated, and Geoff has published the e-book. As a testament to his influence in the industry, fifty-two of us stepped up to provide content. Looking at the list, I see a lot of very accomplished, well-known names, as well as a few I haven’t heard from before. Never mind; I’ll be following them from now on. Reading their contributions makes me proud to be part of this project management community. I’m honored to be in their company, and grateful to Geoff for including me in this monumental, quick-turnaround effort.

I urge you to take a few minutes to read some of these short notes, and pass along the advice in them to project management students, practitioners, and managers – it’s that widely applicable. You might even find a few things for yourself in this treasure chest.

Once again: thanks, Professor Crane. You’re all right, in my book.

 

 

Project Management Job Requirements Study Announced

Job ApplicantsNoel Radley, the managing editor for SoftwareAdvice.com, published the results of an interesting survey last month. They looked at three hundred job listings on job board-scraper Indeed.com for project managers. The intent was to compare requirements for positions across three sectors: aerospace, healthcare, and information technology. The points of comparison were education, certifications, and years of experience.

The team at SoftwareAdvice.com chose these three sectors based on PMI’s Industry Growth Forecast, published last year. The Forecast estimates 6.2 million new project management roles will be created in the United States between 2010 and 2020. PMI anticipates job growth in aerospace, healthcare, and information technology will each be over 12 percent.

Radley says, “After reading how 6.2 million new project management jobs are anticipated to be created by 2020, we wanted to understand what qualifications employers are looking for in the project manager role. We wanted project managers to be able to better understand trends in their sector: how many years of experience are wanted (on average), what the biggest industries for PM are, and if PM job seekers need to be investing in higher education and certifications to secure these jobs. We also wanted to give project managers a sense of whether they would be competitive if they decided to switch industries, helping them to think through what it would take to transition and seek a new opportunity.”

What I found interesting in the results was the reduced importance of education, especially advanced degrees, for companies hiring project managers. The skills gap referenced in the PMI Forecast is manifesting here first, as companies lower their academic expectations of new hires. If you don’t have a degree, but you have lots of industry and project management experience, you might be preferred over the recent graduate.

Another of their findings was that, of those job postings specifying a professional certification, the PMP credential was the most commonly mentioned – as expected for project manager in the U.S. If you don’t have a degree, that PMP may provide an additional edge.

I’d be interested in hearing from recent job seekers and hires whether it seems like the bar is getting lower, in terms of education and experience, and whether these “requirements” are becoming “preferred.” Leave a comment, and let’s add some anecdotes to Noel’s insightful analysis.

New PM Articles for the Week of March 31 – April 6

Cartoon NewsboyNew project management articles published on the web during the week of March 31 – April 6. We read all of this stuff so you don’t have to! And Elizabeth Harrin was kind enough to give me a guest spot on her blog, PM4Girls – thanks, Mum! Also recommended:

PM Best Practices

  • Glen Alleman explores the clever phrase, “Do it right or do it twice.”
  • Gary Nelson notes that there is an appropriate window of opportunity for change. After that, everything gets expensive or impossible.
  • Bruce Benson sings the praises of arguments, disputes, and debates.
  • Barry Hodge argues that Nozbe is the best “to do” list app for project managers, and gives five excellent reasons. I’m still not ditching Trello, though …
  • Dick Billows notes the advantages of using a software-based project scheduling tool, and shoots down the arguments against it.
  • Marian Haus recaps the three “traditional” techniques for overcoming project schedule constraints.
  • John Goodpasture shares a challenge question he puts to his risk management students, on how to assess the impact of a new technology, process, or vendor.
  • Tony Adams traces the link between the project charter and the engagement of the project sponsor.
  • Henny Portman links us to some great how-to videos for Excel – the project manager’s Swiss Army Knife.
  • Sue Geuens notes that incorrect data records can lead to some pretty serious consequences.

Agile Methods

  • Jeff Pierce addresses requirements gathering for those development projects with a lot of constraints.
  • Johanna Rothman continues her series on designing your own Agile project, with a look at dealing with the unknowns.
  • Cheri Baker looks into the post-success bounce, and why success is so often temporary.
  • Soma Bhattacharya talks about what to do once you’ve succeeded, and your Scrum team is successful, productive, and stable.
  • Dave Prior reflects on how he’s using (and benefiting from) his personal Kanban, as a follow-up to his interviews with Jim Benson.
  • Paulo Dias looks at the down side of starting a Sprint on a Monday.

Strategy and Governance

  • Martin Webster asks an interesting question: “Does strategy emerge or is it planned?”
  • Elizabeth Harrin reviews Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell’s new book, “Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future .”
  • Michael Wood notes that the maxim “simpler is better” also applies to project portfolio management.

Your Career

  • Dennis McCafferty shares a slide deck that shows compensation and career prospects for experience project managers are looking very good, indeed.
  • Linky van der Merwe links us to a few resources for project managers looking to make a career move.
  • Michel Dion provides some tips for those preparing for a job interview.

Enjoy!