The Road to become a successful Project Management ConsultantMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
Project Management Consultants are rapidly becoming the “Necessary Evil” for the organization to ensure successful execution of projects. One of the most frequently asked questions I come across, especially from fresh graduates, is how one can become a good and successful project management consultant.
There is a long road to it. A good Project Management Consultant is not only expert of all relevant knowledge but also has gone through most of the actual things and have real time experience of resolving the challenges. Traditionally the Project Management Consultant are with 15-20 years of experience. Now this field and role has a lot of demand in the industry so you will find consultants will have much less experience as well.
Anyone looking to go down that road may start with basic education. Although professionals with all kinds of educational backgrounds are working as successful project managers, if you are looking for the relevant education, then should opt for the business studies related degree. Of Course the education carries on throughout the career and project managers gradually add multiple certifications to their credentials. Going through some short training is also highly recommended during their professional careers in order to keep on adding to their arsenal.
Next comes experience and although it is a well known fact that experience comes with time, if you are planning to work as a full time consultant, then you always tend to see things differently. That means that you just not only focus on work but also the industry best practices and how things should be working.
To become a successful Project Management Consultant, One has to expand his/her experience both horizontally and vertically. By horizontally I mean through different industries and domains. By vertical I mean the depth through each industry or domain. The most clients and industries one can experience, the wider experience he/she gains.
Similarly, working with different technology groups adds dimension to your experience . One other area that really does make a difference in experience is working with both public and private sectors as both have their own norms and challenges.
Apart from building a profile through education and experience, the road to becoming a successful Project Management Consultant is being mentored by some experts. It is always very helpful and learning to have someone to talk to and discuss different things to seek guidance. There are many career related discussions and decisions that need an expert and unbiased feedback and guidance.
Similarly, before starting your own consulting services, it is advised to work or be affiliated with some experienced consultant. It will provide learning and guidance related to running the affairs of your own company. Also currently, most are working in the industry in the same manner that different consultants join hands on assignment to assignment basis.