The importance of continuing professional development for project managers
Project Managers need to go beyond managing projects. It is just as important for project managers to manage their career and invest time and effort towards their professional development. In context of project management, professional development implies acquiring knowledge and skills which are standardized and up to date with the constantly evolving practice of project management.
The question arises, where does one begin? The simple answer is “self assessment”. It is important to understand where does one stand with respect to his or her own strengths and areas of improvement in order to be a better project managers. There are plenty of self assessment tools , instruments and surveys available for project managers to assess themselves and carve a path towards attaining professional development. PMI’s Pathpro is one such website that enables managers to navigate through career framework- career path review and assess their skills and competencies.
The next step is directing and channelizing the strengths into best directing and managing projects while making efforts and working on areas of improvement. Besides technical skills or domain specific knowledge the most sought after skills in a project manager are leadership qualities, interpersonal skills, communication and presentation skills, trouble shooting, conflict management and creative problem solving. While there may be unlimited competency development programs and courses that may train one in a particular technology or a project management tool, it is just as important to develop knowledge of management and practice and implement these management techniques towards managing projects. Certifying PMI is one such endeavor towards professional development in fact PMP certified managers are also meant to comply with PMI’s -CCR which is Continuing Certification Requirement in order for them to renew their certificate every 3 years. The Body of Knowledge (BOK) is revised periodically and it takes into account new lessons learnt and introduces new content or theories, tools and techniques which are standard and benefit projects and managers alike. PMP, CAPM, ACP certified professionals have to earn PDUs or Professional Development Units and report to PMI in order to fulfill CCR requirements and retain their certification status every 3 years.
Aside from certifying or pursuing certificate courses in Project Management, project managers can listen to podcasts, read books, attend seminars or webinars and contribute to Project Management Society by way of producing related content and publishing it. PMI also has a network of Registered Education Providers or R.E.P.s that offer an array of paid and free programs. Volunteering for society and applying project management skills within the organization also helps achieve professional development goal as well as earn PDUs for certification purposes. Being actively involved by such means not only contributes to the project management community but also keeps managers posted on all matters of importance and current development. It also helps managers stay connected, share and learn from each other’s experiences, collaborate and often reach out and easily tap into the huge repository of knowledge and resources.