Should you treat you CAREER as a PROJECT-min

Should you treat you CAREER as a PROJECT?

I bet many of you thought the answer to the question is a YES, but the truth is, if you treat your career as a project, it will be a short lived one and while you might survive, your career won’t flourish. Instead, everyone should treat their career as a Program. Let me start with some basic definitions so you can make sense of what’s coming next:

What is a project?

By nature, a Project is a temporary undertaking to achieve a certain outcome with a beginning and an end. Normally, projects are short term.

What is a Program?

A program is a set of related projects, subprograms, and activities or related measures that are established for the aim of achieving long terms goals that are not achievable if those components were managed individually.

What is the difference between a Career and a Job?

Many believe that a job and a career are the same but in fact, they are not. A job is simply a means for earning money while a career is your path towards long-term success and growth. In your job, you aim to work hard to standout, earn more money, and get a higher raise or bonus while in building your career, things work differently and the investments you make are at a different level and the benefits are intangible short term but will translate into monetary tangible long-term benefits.

By now, you probably started to realize as to why you should treat your career as a program. Unlike your career, you can surely treat your job as a project with short-term outcomes.

If you are ambitious and have long-term vision and goals for your professional career, then treating it as a program will serve you best. Under the main program, there could be many projects, subprograms, and activities to help you realize the intended benefits so how can you plan this program?

Below are the main steps, in sequence, as to how you can plan your career as a program:

Step (1) – Goals and Benefits

Define your goals, and based on those goals, establish the anticipated benefits. Below are a few examples of some goals and/or benefits:

  • Get promoted from Junior Project Manager to Senior Project Manager.
  • Achieve a salary of $100,000 USD within 5 years.
  • Specialize in a certain industry or field.
  • Establish a side gig (own company) by certain year.
  • Become a consultant in 10 years time.

It is important to make sure your goals and benefits are measurable and time bound.

Step (2) – Program Components

Establish your program components which could include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Professional Development
    • Courses
    • Credentials
    • Conferences
    • Seminars
    • Webinars
  • Current Job
  • Own Business
  • Others

Step (3) – Program Roadmap

Link your benefits to the components and establish a roadmap with milestone dates. This will be your guide.

Step (4) – Metrics and KPIs

Establish key performance indicators that will help you measure the progress towards your benefits realization. Below are some examples of questions which you can ask yourself to establish those KPIs:

  • Am I enhancing my knowledge and expertise in the field I am interested in at a satisfactory pace? (You need to define what this pace is).
  • Is my progress towards achieving a certain credential acceptable and will I complete the credential by the set milestone date?
  • Is my last salary increment and job performance review supportive of achieving my current job goals in the next two years?

Step (5) – Monitoring

You should use your KPIs to measure your performance towards achieving your goals and remember this: Your career is dynamic which means that you should always inspect and adapt to ensure what is going is be realized is going to be of value to you.

Step (6) – Sustainment

Remember, what’s more important than reaching the top is staying there so make sure you establish measures to sustain or enhance the benefits you realized.

Establishing a plan for your career and continuously inspecting and adapting is a very important, if not the most important part, of your success especially in the rapidly evolving world we currently live in.


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