Project Manager’s Strategic Guide to a Successful 2024

It’s a new year, when everyone talks about resolutions. Most people hear the title “Project Manager” and assume that we would be the best group of people to plan goals for the new year – but as we all know, often the cobbler’s children go barefoot, and often, as Project Management professionals our personal goals end up pushed aside to prioritize the goals of the people we serve. The organization we work for, our families, and other commitments all take up so much of our time that we don’t always sit down and set our own goals. 

However, the truth is that we do a disservice to everyone when we don’t prioritize ourselves. We waste less time, make better choices, and are less stressed when we have a plan. So, by the powers vested in me as the President of PMI Mile Hi Chapter, I permit you to take a few moments to yourself to focus on your career goals for the coming year and make a plan.

Always Consider PDUs & the Talent Triangle

First things first, those ever-present PDUs. Many of you have degrees or certifications that have PDU requirements, typically on a 3-year cycle. And you might be saying right now, “James, are you kidding?? We just finished the year. Can we take a break from thinking about PDUs?” The answer is sure, but at a cost. We know that taking the time to plan now saves a lot of effort down the road. Avoid wasting your time by strategically planning professional development events around which PDUs you need to renew your certification. Of course, knowledge gained is never wasted time, but at the end of the day we are all busy people with a deliverable that we need to prioritize. Make a plan that allows you to satisfy your priorities while still leaving room for personal growth.

While planning which professional development events to attend, be sure to keep in mind the PMI Talent Triangle – Ways of Working, Power Skills, and Business Acumen. Besides the fact that every certification requires a number of PDUs you must earn in each category of the triangle, it’s also an excellent way to stay well-rounded and keep up with relevant skills that employers value.

Prioritize Personal Goals

Next, consider what your personal goals for the year might be, and find ways to intersect your PDU requirements with your own personal growth. 

Are you looking to change industries? Then, you should watch the PMI Mile Hi calendar for networking events or consider signing up for the mentor program. Time spent talking shop with colleagues and mentors can all count towards your PDU requirements, as well as provide valuable career advice. 

Does one of your goals relate to your workplace? If you are looking for ways to be more impactful in your current PMO, or even looking for a new employment opportunity, its important to keep in mind what employers are looking for. In a study PMI conducted in 2021 with PwC Global Survey, PMI found that the top five skills or capabilities that employers look for in a project manager are:

  1. Relationship Building
  2. Collaborative leadership
  3. Strategic Thinking
  4. Creative problem solving
  5. Commercial awareness (Essentially, Business Acumen, or how decisions affect the company as a whole.)

These traits are listed in order of importance. The top two are related to Power Skills, so if you are looking for new opportunities this year, that side of the triangle might be a good place to start.

Do you want to prioritize new technology and industry trends? Keeping tabs on the types of articles that come out on PMI Global & PMI Mile Hi’s social media and what speakers are talking about at professional events, can help guide you to keep up on trends in project management. For example, AI has been a hot topic on PMI Global’s website in the last quarter of 2023. If you hope to better understand this emerging technology, an AI track is offered at the PMI Mile Hi Symposium in April. 

Stay Connected

Finally, my parting advice for a successful 2024 is to include volunteering and networking goals in your strategic plan for the year. Even if you are maxed out on Giving Back PDUs, volunteering is always a fantastic way to stay informed and connected with the industry. I love to support our volunteers as they develop and lead programs for our chapter. There are so many opportunities to be active and help others resulting in strengthening local companies and our community.

If you don’t have an interest or the time to volunteer, there are always networking events taking place every month, as well as opportunities to connect and network with fellow PMPs at chapter meetings, toastmaster events, regis round tables, conferences, Symposium, and many other events, both in person and virtual. 

Volunteering and networking are all valuable ways to hone one of the most crucial skills a PMP can have – communication. Project management is a dynamic field, where tools and techniques are always evolving, but PMOs will never stop needing the human touch to provide clear, effective communication with other humans, no matter what technology is involved.

So here’s to 2024, and taking some time to ourselves to plan out those PDUs, identify our personal goals, and always staying connected with our fellow PMPs. It is a privilege to enter this new year of possibility with my friends and colleagues of the PMI Mile Hi Chapter. Cheers!

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