First in a Series: Is Project Management Your Next Career Move?

Over the next month, I’ll be reaching out to the Project Managers on Twitter (#PMOT) community to volunteer to share their personal success stories, and acknowledge inspiring women leaders in action who are really making a difference in the profession and in our global economy.  As Project Managers, we have communities of role models, coaches and mentors who if asked would be willing to step forward to provide the guidance to help a new or seasoned project manager to continue down the right path to success.  Hopefully, these personal success stories will give you inspiration and will challenge you to consider making a difference in the #PMOT community.

Today, I’d like to share my first story from Soma Bhattacharya who recently released a book called “Stepping into Project Management”.  I asked her a few questions about aspirations, her new book, and transition into project management and tips for new project manager. Here’s what Bhattacharya had to say about it…

 

Naomi Q1: Currently, you’re a practitioner of project management, blogger and writer; where do you draw your inspiration from?

Soma A1. I think my inspiration is from surrounding myself with amazing people who are achievers. When there are bad days, I really look up to the people who I think do a great job in handling their everyday life. I will sometimes email #PMOT blogger friends and ask how they would handle similar situations or call up my friends and we’ll just talk through it; I also browse through LinkedIn profiles and success of others is an inspiration for me to better myself.

 

Naomi Q2:  “Stepping into Project Management is your latest e-book; can you share with our readers the top three reasons to get your book today?

Soma A2:The objective of writing the book is to make sure the college grads, newbie’s and people who are thinking of changing their careers really get to know what it is to be a Project Manager before taking the big leap. Plus I am really interested in encouraging people choose project management as a profession. There’s so much happening in the domain and yet when it comes to informing and educating people about project management at earlier stages of life, we are still far behind. I don’t think any undergrad talks about being a project manager or choosing it as a profession and planning their career around it. My work whether through the blog, the community that I run which is a free platform for newbie’s to find experts in project management or my book is to encourage the passion for project management.

 

So, 3 reasons why you should buy my book:

  • You get real life tips from professionals in the industry about how to step into the world of project management; from how to land your first job to how a mentor can help you and can a personality type analysis really tell you if you are the right candidate for the job.
  • It’s a 35 page e-book that allows you to understand the basics of project management- the life of a project manager, the politics and complexities and how you should handle yourself.   Simply written without jargons, it’s targeted globally to help anyone new to the idea of Project management and how to step into this domain.
  • Plus it’s very reasonably priced at $2.99, you won’t really be breaking your bank to get this one.

 

Naomi Q3: PMI is offering a CAPM credential for new and aspiring PMs.  What are a few tips for new junior PMs who wish to pursue project management as a career?

Soma A3: Know as much as you can before you step into the role and be prepared. My 3 tips would be:

Get a mentor who can help you understand and navigate through the projects and senior management. And they don’t have to be from within your organization, try working with someone who has more than 10 years of experience in the same domain, understands your strengths and weakness and has the time to talk to you at least once a week initially.  Put in the effort – take the initiative to learn more, volunteer to take on additional role if it helps you move forward towards your project management journey and ask advice from seniors.  Do your homework- Make sure you observe at job, learn from mistakes and is quick enough to learn new skills, see what’s required and get it done and don’t be afraid to ask for more work.

Naomi Q4: What gaps or hurdles in your experience globally face junior PMs who want to be a full time PM managing one or more projects?

 

Soma A4:I think a lot of wannabe Project Manager’s complaint about not being able to get enough experience in the job or their managers not allowing them to move towards the project management role. If you have decided to be a Project Manager, try looking for options. Look up volunteer opportunities at your local PMI chapter, attend networking events and keep a watch out for upcoming opportunities, if you think your current organization doesn’t encourage growth, it’s time to start looking. Once you have enough hours, get your certification and start looking for junior project management roles.

Having said all of this, it’s also true that it might not be an easy job to get the role of your dream. This is precisely why you plan for it, you talk with people, you keep on networking and ask for advice. For example: If you are an introvert and aren’t comfortable walking into networking events or looking out for mentors, take this as a challenge, as part of your training for the upcoming role. Train your brain- find out what you are not comfortable with and then find solutions in tackling it. Read up, research, discuss with your mentor and just go out there and attend one event even if you feel uncomfortable. You can always walk away anytime you want to.

 

Naomi Q5: Advancing the profession for women in various fields is very rewarding; tell us more about your Women’s Professional Networking Group.

Soma A5:Well, it’s “Hyderabad Women’s Professional Networking Group” and it is part of a meet up group in the city ofHyderabad (India) where I am currently located. When I moved to the city, I was actively looking forward to joining a professional women’s group and couldn’t find one. So, I finally started it myself and right now we have 21 members from various backgrounds joining in. My idea in initiating the effort was to have a platform for the women where we can share and learn from our experience, help others advance and meet up once a month over coffee. Joining is free.

 

Naomi Q6: International Project Management Day theme this year is “Women in Project Management”; can you share a few inspirational tips to acknowledge women leaders globally?

Soma A6: I have always been very vocal about the fact that a lot of my inspiration in my career or everyday life came from women. Elizabeth Harrin from A Girl’s Guide to Project Management actually inspired me to get into the profession. I was fresh out of college, recently hired intern working in downtownChicago in a software firm when I stumbled across her blog at lunch. Her blog was so fascinating to read that I read it every day and found a way to like this new found profession.

I also think since I come from a family of successful women, both I and my sister knew that we could achieve anything we wanted to and it was always encouraged. I think much later, when I started reading business biographies and paying attention to these global women leaders something strikes you. It could be reading good op-ed pieces from Anne-Marie Slaughter “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” or listening to the likes of Sheryl Sandberg, Indra Nooyi. The fact that Marissa Mayer is a CEO and pregnant might just open up a new scope for women who are expecting and still can happily lead and handle stress and their job.

Plus there are so many women, whose name might not be acknowledged globally who are standing up for their rights, doing their own thing, putting in the effort and are equally inspirational.   For those of us who are women, we have a way to be inspired from certain aspects of life and figures and we should continue to do so as long as we are inspired to be better.

Naomi Q7:Please share how to purchase your e-book, where to find your blog and how to contact you.

Soma A7:The book can be purchased directly from my blog http://www.steppingintopm.com/  and it’s also available at Amazon.com worldwide. To get in touch with me, you can find me at Twitter @Soma_b or can email me directly at steppingintopm(at)gmail.com

 

Naomi Caietti, PMP

 

Women in PM Theme Chair
International Project Management Day