Project management experience requires learners to demonstrate at least 4,500 hours of experience in leading and directing projects. It is a prerequisite for many careers and job opportunities which is why project management is such a valuable skill set. There are many ways to gain the required experience. In this article, we will be discussing how to do that.
What is Project Management Experience?
Project management experience can be classified as extensive experience in the planning, preparation, execution, and implementation of projects. It involves directly managing and supervising projects, including overseeing all the activities related to their completion and closure.
The typical responsibilities of a project manager also include budgeting, time management, and maintaining the necessary documentation. Participating in any activities that ensure the ongoing success of these deliverables also counts as project management experience.
Also Read: The Iron Triangle of Project Management
What is Counted as Project Management Experience?
The following activities are counted as project management experience:
The planning phase involves creating a blueprint for the project and ensuring that ideas are tangible and can be brought to life. It clarifies the project’s scope, identifies resources, and even charts out project timelines. Whether an idea is executable or not, if the project is appropriate, and what method of communication is preferred by the team are discussed in this stage. In short, it is the preparatory step, and without proper planning, the project won’t have direction.
Project management team members need strong communication and collaboration skills. It is imperative to get your ideas across in a simple fashion so that non-technical teammates can understand. The leading process also requires excellent people skills and a sense of empathy. Being able to emotionally connect to team-mates and solve problems by analyzing from their perspectives are also important.
Execution is about getting involved in all activities that move the project forward or take it towards the next step. This is setting plans in motion and taking action. Execution activities may not be perfect, but as long as they follow the blueprint, the organization can stay on track.
4. Time Management
Project managers need to wear multiple hats in the organizations depending on the task at hand. This means they need to possess excellent time management skills. Planning out one’s day, scheduling tasks, and resolving issues on time are all among their key responsibilities.
Many projects fail due to financial issues arising. It is the duty of the project manager to decide on the budget and reallocate resources where needed. The project must stick to the budget and not deviate from financial planning. This ensures its critical success.
Project managers need to keep a record of the project’s progress and any pitfalls that occur during the process. Maintaining good documentation is a must, and it will involve using data collection tools and generating statistical reports.
Project managers are responsible for maintaining project tracking and ensuring that project activities are enabled per the project timeline.
How to Get Project Management Experience?
The best way to acquire enough project management experience is to work on various projects, be involved, and ensure that you actively participate until they are completed. If you are training for PMP certification in Project Management, you will require a specific number of project management experience hours.
There are several ways to gain project management knowledge prior to undergoing the PMP Certification training and these are the most popular ways:
1. Volunteering to Manage Small Projects for Your Company
You can take advantage of any volunteering opportunities that come your way. For example, your local Church may require setting up a website, or you may be tasked to help on the neighbourhood’s food drive. These projects are small-scale, not-for-profit, and a great way to gain relevant project management experience.
2. Shadowing with a Mentor
If you are trying to gain more knowledge, shadowing your mentor is a great way to increase your experience. This involves watching them closely at work and seeing how they do things. Your mentor may give you an opportunity to work on projects hands-on or give out small tasks. Make the most of them.
3. Invest in Some Quality Project Management Courses
High-quality project management courses go a long way and are a good investment in your career. They cover all the essentials of project management and different industries. You may be able to find side gigs which may build up to full-blown courses or additional project management opportunities. Most of these courses are conducted online, but you will be able to find live instructor-led sessions on-campus as well, depending on the area you are located in.
4. Project Management Events and Webinars
Many companies host project management events and webinars which students can attend online. Look out for these, and be sure to sign up on the waiting list. Seats get filled up fast, and these events are not available all the time. You may get a chance to interact with industry professionals, meet new mentors, or get career advice on how to step up your project management game through them.
5. PMP Certification
It has a clear learning path, live instructor-led sessions, and helps aspirants earn up to 35 Professional Development Units (PDUs). With unlimited attempts on mock tests, hands-on course modules, full-length exams, and much more, it sets up students with the skills needed to succeed in the industry and stand out from the competition.
6. Keep Accurate Records of Your Experience
Remember to document your project management experience and add it to your resume. Your employers will be interested and companies love to know what you’re good at. Show accurate records, mention the dates, details, and any other relevant information. This is so that your references check out and if your employer makes an inquiry into those sources, you’ll receive a good word.
Job Opportunities that Give you Project Management Experience
If you are seeking job opportunities to get more project management experience, the good news is that many roles will give you that. You don’t need the project manager title, and just by working in these roles, you can gain the necessary project management experience. They are as follows:
● Personal Assistant
Personal assistants are masters of organizations and mostly hone their time management skills. They work on multiple small projects and are well-versed in the nuances involved.
● Business Analyst
Business analysts are tasked with analysing various projects and giving inputs into their progress. They are supposed to provide insights from raw data, organize it, and ensure that team members are assigned the right tasks and responsibilities.
● Event Organizer
Event organizers require a lot of planning, coordination, and preparation for executing projects. They are required to identify project requirements and scopes of projects, calculate budgets, and more.
● Office Administrator or Manager
Office administrators or managers require excellent communication skills and carry out various responsibilities, all of which are valuable in project management. They plan and execute much larger tasks, coordinate with project leads, and even lead small projects.
● Training Coordinator
Training coordinators can simultaneously participate in projects and run their own ones on a small scale. Training is a big component of large projects, and by becoming a training coordinator, individuals get familiarized with what goes on in the real world. Other tasks these individuals have at hand are creating and setting up projects, distributing tasks, and learning new skills to enhance the coordination experience.
Also Read: Project Management Specialist Hiring Guide
Project management is a very rewarding and diverse field that pays off long-term. You will be able to build new connections, do great work, and positively impact the world. It’s also a high-demand career, and job vacancies for professional project managers are always available in companies. If you’ve ever thought of pursuing a career in project management, there is no better time than now. You can acquire professional project management experience by signing up for the KnowledgeHut training for PMP Certification program.
1. What can be considered project management experience?
Spending time on activities such as project planning, leading, coordination, training, execution, and directing, all count as project management experience.
2. Is project management a good career?
Yes, project management is a good career that pays well and offers great bonuses. However, the work can be tough as you will have to handle multiple responsibilities. Job roles in this field are often demanding and require extensive experience.
3. How many hours of project management experience do you need for PMP?
If you already have a four-year Bachelor’s degree, you will need at least 4,500 hours of experience in leading and directing projects. Otherwise, for non-graduates, the PMP certification requires aspirants to have 7,500 hours of work experience and 35 hours spent on project management education.
4. Can you study for PMP in 2 months?
The easiest way to study for PMP in 2 months and clear it is by cracking the practice or mock exams. These will prepare you for the main exam and help you get an idea of the exam time limits and pattern.
5. How do I get entry-level project management experience?
You can sign up and work with a mentor, take an online course, get involved with local communities, and volunteer on small projects. There are many ways to get entry-level project management experience; these are foundational programs requiring zero experience to get started.