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What got you here won't get you there.

You probably worked hard and burned the midnight oil when you studied for your project management certification. You manage projects diligently now and nothing surprises your or your project team.

However, you find yourself asking "Is this all there is?" Do I still want to be doing the same job five years from now?".

The fact is that you will need to learn new skills if you want to move up the project leadership food chain to larger program and portfolio management. Your project management skills are insufficient. This is easier said than done, so keep reading to help with your journey. . 

  1. Identify your skill gap. What skills don't you have? You probably don't know this yet, so you need to sit down with an experienced program manager to assess your current skills and the skills needed for your next career move. Then work out a plan to get the skills. Normally, these are acquired on the job and you need to get a mentor to help you acquire the skills. Theory is not likely to help you here.

  2. Larger programs require multiple layers of project managers. How good are you at managing lower layers of project managers? What experience do you have here? If you don't have any, then you must get into a situation the provides experience, with a mentor to guide you.

  3. Programs and portfolio management require budget management skills. What experience and skills do you have with managing budgets? How can you get these skills and experience?

  4. How wide and robust is your professional network? It will help you when you move up the project leadership food chain.

  5. Once you have all the skills for a higher-responsibility job, how can you get noticed? I find that writing a book on the topic of project management is a good introduction. Serving on committees and task forces is also a proven technique. You don't want to be the best kept secret in the world. 

The skills that got you to where you are now (planning, organization, communication) will stand you in good stead to move up the corporate ladder in program management. However, they are not all the skills that you need and you must find a way to identify and fill in the gaps. You need additional skills, as well as different skills to manage programs successfully. 

Copyright 2018 Wayne Botha Email Wayne Cell: 860.214.4897