New here! advice please!

This forum is for members to share and gain knowledge of Project Management. Got a question about project management? Need help with a problem? Wish to offer tips and advice? Post here.
Post Reply
Danbone
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri 22 Mar 2013 2:55 pm

Hi,

I am currently in an Assistant Project Manager position for about 3 months now. I work for Network Rail infrastructure projects.

I am currently in my 3rd (out of 5) year at College studying a degree in electrical engineering. I am part of the APM and am on the introductory course that APM do end of May, and starting July I will be doing PRINCE2 at college as well.

I've dedicated the last 3 years to getting into project management and am working hard to get the qualifications, skill, experience and knowledge to advance my career and really push for a position of high responsibility and challenge (and let face it money as well!)

I feel I am getting off to a good start and being in a entry level position is fine, however I'd like your advice on 2 things. 1) is there any other development advice you can give me to help me achieve my goals and 2) I've been in the position for 3 months now and would like to know your view on how long I should stick this position out before moving on to Scheme Project Manager? (That's the next position up in Network Rail they seem to have different names for the positions).

Thank you
User avatar
kwalford
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 301
Joined: Thu 08 Dec 2011 1:34 pm

Personally, I think your question is far too nebulous to give you guidance. More specifics are needed.

It doesn't appear that you have been in your current position a long time either. Grab any opportunities to progress within the PMO by the knackers and go for it!

I think that experience pays dividens in PM'ing, rather than doing certs. However, having a cert behind you gets your foot in the door (interview for instance) so that you can gain the experience.

Surely your peers in Network Rail can answer how is best to progress within that vertical.
Danbone
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri 22 Mar 2013 2:55 pm

I suppose I am asking the wrong question here. My team say 3 years and then you're experienced and should go to the next step! I am 25, not fresh out of Uni, and so I am lagging behind and trying to catch up fast!

I know nothing is better than experience, but is it worth pushing for advancement sooner than 3 years?!

So what I am asking is, is it ok to push forward after a year or best I stay for the experience?

Thanks
User avatar
begeland
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 173
Joined: Sat 09 Mar 2013 11:46 pm
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Contact:

Danbone - hi and thanks for posting in the forums here.

You're right...experience is critical. And nothing - no education, no certifications, and no amount of networking can ever take the place of focused experience. Even bad experiences (project failures or bumps in the road) are good experience. We all learn from our own failures and the failures of others.

I would stick your position out for awhile. It never hurts to let your career goals known and there is usually a great opportunity to do that at annual performance appraisal time (I'm an independent consultant...they do still do that, don't they??). Again, certifications are good and they will tell people you have some experience (because you can't sit for exams with just book knowledge and class time under your belt) and they will tell people you're dedicated. But as a long time project manager and business leader, I can tell you that I would much rather stock a PMO with experienced PMs that have no certifications than with only certified PMs...it's a very short-sighted hiring move. That said, I think both are important so a good mix is usually a good idea. I hope this has helped somewhat.
Brad
Danbone
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri 22 Mar 2013 2:55 pm

Thank you,

From what you've said I think I am rushing things and should slow down and really get to know by heart and in detail the project life cycle. I realise today there is so much in a project I still don't know, but I was already thinking about progressing forward.

I felt really good after being there for three months now and thought things were progressing very well indeed. Then I had a four hour meeting and realised I didn't understand about 75% of the things they were saying and it was a big knock down for me. I could give you an example, however, it was procedures and proccesses specific to railways and as such is not something you can learn from a document. Tell me this is normal and it takes a long time to get your head around the project life cycle or should I be doing better than I am?

I work hard to try and make a good reputation, but you never know when you start out do you?

Thanks!

P.S. yes we are supposed to have a Personal Development meeting every 6 months, but my line manager has announced his departure from the project and as such is performing the handover and not had much time to do this.
User avatar
dhaughey
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 463
Joined: Sat 19 Dec 2009 4:39 pm
Location: London

Hi Danbone,

You're right, there is more to project management than a lot of people realise. If you look at PMBOK you will see there are 10 knowledge areas and 47 processes. That's a lot of information to assimilate, let alone put into practice.

It took me over a year to study for my Project Management Professional certification, so I think with only 3 months study you have some way to go. In my opinion you should look at 6 months to a year to fully ground yourself in project management processes and procedures. Keep studying the text books, but also read some of the articles posted on project management websites by experienced professionals. These will give you an insight into project management in the real world.

I wouldn't worry, just keep working hard, build your knowledge and it will happen for you.

Duncan
User avatar
begeland
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 173
Joined: Sat 09 Mar 2013 11:46 pm
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Contact:

Danbone-

I agree with Duncan, and yes, it does take time. Don't worry that you didn't understand many things in the meeting you mentioned. It can be a bit scary when you realize in a situation like that that you might not be nearly as ready as you thought. But certainly don't let it discourage you. You seem to have the ability and ambition to get there...it just takes time. Read, study and gain experience. And definitely information you can derive from the experience of other more experienced PM colleagues will be invaluable to you as you take steps in the profession.

Good luck!
Post Reply