“Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?”
“Well, turn it up man!”
If you’re of a certain generation, you’ll immediately know the commercial this is referencing because it felt like it played every 15 minutes back in the ‘80s. If you have no idea, check it out here.
Either way, here’s the takeaway from this commercial: TURN IT UP MAN! Rock ‘n’ roll needs to be amped up and loud to have its full effect. Sure, you can listen with the volume turned down so as to not disturb others, but that’s just not going to give you the spine-tingling effect when that first power chord is struck.
The same applies to your career in project management. You can choose to work quietly and behind the scenes as a project manager. But, to really make a difference within your organization and your career, it’s good to turn things up every now and then.
The following 5 recommendations will not only amp up your ability to deliver projects better, but move you forward in your career. Think about these as cranking up the volume knob on an amp:
- Volume Level 2 - Keep Your Templates Current - Been using the same set of templates since Freedom Rock came out in the ‘80s? It’s time to get those updated for sure! Using the same set of templates is like listening to the same playlist over and over again. No matter how good the music is, it’s eventually going to become stale.
Looking for a good place to start? Check out The PMO Squad Template Library. You will find useful project management templates from kickoff checklists and health checks to communications plans and requirements-gathering templates. New templates cause you to think in new ways and ask new questions.
- Volume Level 4 - Bring in a New Methodology - Similar to templates getting stale, managing projects the same way for years can have a tendency to dull the senses. Waterfall used to be all the rage, now, Agile methodologies are where it’s at.
A word of caution, don’t change for the sake of changing. Do an honest assessment with your customers, stakeholders, and yourself and determine if there could be a way to deliver projects better. It may be that your favorite methodology works just fine for certain types of projects, but, maybe smaller projects could benefit from less overhead and rigor in order to get done faster with the same quality.
- Volume Level 6 - Market Your Team, Tastefully - When is the only time you think about or call your electric company? When something goes wrong and the power goes out. Chances are good you have never called to thank them for your electricity being on. That’s why you’ll get updates every now and then about their latest initiative, how you can save money on electricity, and other information.
It’s a similar thing with project managers. If you are doing your job of managing risks and delivering projects, very few people are going to think about you. That is, until you hit a snag and the project is not delivered on time. That’s why it’s good to come up with a mechanism to tastefully market what your teams are doing. Something like a one-pager dashboard that is distributed to your boss, their peers, and other stakeholders about what business value your project is bringing, how much money has been saved or made, or other meaningful metrics.
Again, this needs to be appropriate and not scream, “Look at me, look at me!” Review the idea with your manager and see what thoughts they would have on how this could be accomplished.
- Volume Level 8 - Create Your PM Success Portfolio - You can amp up your project management career by thinking back on all you have accomplished over the years as a project manager and compiling the highlights. The market in which everyone works now is much more fluid and transitory than when Freedom Rock came out. People regularly move from company to company and you need to be able to market your skills and have potential customers (employers / companies) buy what you are selling.
Looking for a novel way of putting something like this together? You can read 4 Steps to Create your Professional Portfolio by Chris Kopp, a former guest on The PMO Squad’s Office Hours podcast.
- Volume Level Turn It Up Man! - Jump Ship - Ready to turn the volume up to 11? Join a different band that plays louder music! The way to really amp things up is to move to a different company. If you are just starting out in your career, become comfortable with the fact that you may have a number of 3–5-year stints along the way. Is it risky to jump ship? Yes. But, is it also just as rewarding? Absolutely!
Here’s what happens if you strategically move through companies every 3-5 years:
- You learn to come up to speed fast and deliver value quickly.
- You make more money. Statistics show that the average wage increase for a position in a new company is 14.8% compared to 3-5% cost of living increases with an existing company. That really adds up over time!
- You expose yourself to so many other ways of delivering projects better as a project manager.
And, if you really want to crank up the risk / reward ratio, you could even consider going out on your own.
You may like playing your project management music a bit quieter, and that’s ok. You may be further on in your career and prefer to quietly and peacefully transition out of the work phase of your life and into the next stage. But, if you want to experience the spine-tingling experience that only amped-up Freedom Rock can bring, try some of the suggestions above and “Turn it up, man!”
SOLUTIONS MADE SIMPLE SUMMARY
How to Amp Up Your Project Management Career
Below are 5 steps you can take to turn up the volume on your career.
- Keep Your Templates Fresh - Check out our collection of useful PMO Squad Templates.
- Bring in a New Methodology - Consult with your customers and stakeholders and see if your project delivery methodology is giving them what they need. If it’s not, change it up or add a new one to the mix.
- Market Your Team - Find ways to tastefully let project sponsors, executives, and other stakeholders know you and your team are bringing value to the organization.
- Create Your PM Success Portfolio - Compile a portfolio of your project management career successes and skills to share with others who may be interested in buying what you have to offer. Read 4 Steps to Create your Professional Portfolio by Chris Kopp for some ideas on what that could look like.
- Jump Ship - This is not for the faint of heart, but moving companies or even going out on your own will yield rich rewards.
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