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The impact of a career development plan on your future

How to get the job you want

Following on from part 1, how to plan your project management career – where we looked at the left-hand side of the Butterfly model – we now take a look at its right-hand side (figure 1).

The Butterfly model is an additional tool to add alongside the more traditional SWOT analysis when planning and creating a development plan for your career in project management.

It’s a model that most project practitioners will understand due to its foundations in risk management.

The hard part of course is putting yourself at the centre of it and taking the time out to really think about what you want from your career.

Just as in risk management, the aim here it to try and foresee what kind of impact our plans will have in the future – both positive and negative.

Negative Outcomes

Some of us naturally fall into the ‘risk averse’ category when we are weighing up the choices we have or the decisions to be made.

Like every good risk management technique, we have to think about what could go wrong with a decision made.

In our example, the project support worker highlights the tendency for PMOs to shut up shop after a few years, potentially leaving him without a position at all. There is also a self-confidence issue to be addressed – with negativity around ability and stakeholder management.

Thinking about the negative outcomes is natural, but before it puts you off taking any action at all, we move onto the final part of the butterfly model – the mitigating controls that will counter the negative outcomes.

Controls (Mitigating)

In risk management, mitigating action or controls are what we do if a particular risk comes to fruition, and how we reduce its impact.

In our careers it is about highlighting the concerns we might have, making them more real by noting them down and then thinking further about what you have in your control to reduce the harm it could do.

This is not about preventing a negative outcome – we should look again at our Controls (Preventable) if we think we can eradicate negative outcomes altogether.

Mitigating controls are about taking ownership – regaining control for some situations which are often out of our control.

In the example here, the project support worker is concerned about the longevity of such a career move.  The organisation tends to have more projects than programmes; in fact the maturity around programmes is very immature because it is a relatively new way of working for the organisation.

What will happen if the organisation doesn’t have many programmes in future? Here the mitigating controls are based around the focus on project management maturity in an organisation, rather than just programme support.

The project support worker can therefore start to understand that the wider opportunities for him are not necessarily tied to one PMO supporting one programme.

Figure 1

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About Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott
Lindsay Scott is Director of PMO Learning, the PMO training specialist and Arras People the programme and project management recruitment specialists. Lindsay is the project management careers columnist for PMI's Network magazine and co-editor of the Gower Handbook of People in Project Management. Lindsay created and hosts The PMO Conference and hosts the monthly PMO Flashmobs

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