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Successful project professionals – What do they have in common?


Successful project professionals – What do they have in common?

An in depth analysis of successful project professionals points to these common characteristics;

1. Good academic foundation

All of them have very good academic foundation, gained through formal education. To make it simple, they had great interest in their filed of study. This helped them to maximize their theoretical knowledge when in the college itself.

2. They had a plan to achieve their career milestones and managed them as projects

All of them had career goals, dreams defined and worked towards them. They did not leave it to chance or fate. In most of the cases, they practiced project project management to manage their career goals.

3. Focus on long term rewards, without loosing focus on the work at hand

They focused on long term rewards than on short term benefits. Some of their early assignments were not very lucrative or interesting. They joined organizations hoping to get involved in prime projects, where as in reality they were allocated to auxiliary projects. Instead of loosing heart, they did those projects with great commitment and enthusiasm and made them success. In the process, they gained exposure to the complete project life cycle, where as their counter parts who worked in mega projects got exposure only in some areas of project management. The end to end exposure they got in smaller projects helped them to perform really well, when they were introduced to mega projects later. The primary focus of the first 10 years of their career was on learning and gaining experience.

4. They had good role models / mentors

When we closely analyse successful careers, majority of them had good mentors / role models who themselves were on a fast track. These brilliant mentors were great servant leaders who saw their mentee’s success as their own.

5. Credential enhancement

While they learned on the job and gained experience, they were always focused in enhancing their professional credentials through higher education, research, publications, professional associations etc. Gaining additional credentials continued throughout their career. After three to five years of their initial on the job experience, they opted for well known general project management certifications. During the second five year segment, they specialized in some of the specific sub-domains of projects like contracting, risk management, procurement etc. By the time they reach around 10 years experience, they would have gained one of the globally accepted project management certifications, and a specialization certification in which they gained in depth experience. Towards the later parts of their career many of them got their Doctorate degrees.

6. Networking and collaboration

They never burned the bridges. They always maintained good relationships with the colleagues present and past. They were also good at nurturing new professional contacts as well. They leveraged professional bodies to expand their networks. These large networks helped them as a support system.

7. Systems thinking

Systems thinking was ingrained into their professional DNA. They always tried to see the larger picture at the project, business, industry and global level and were very proactive in leveraging those fore sights. They not only connected the dots but created new dots to connect in the future which were in alignment to their professional strengths.

Here are the links to a couple of interviews which will help you to understand how these factors help in professional career;

Interview with Dr. Kalirajan, Associate Dean, L&T Institute of Project Management

Mr. Jaypal Chadrasenan, Associate Infrastructure Design at Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, United Arab Emirates.

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