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What can I do succeed in Project Management?


Mario Ochoa Davenport, FL

What additional training or certifications will benefit me in Project Management besides a PMP certification? What courses of action should I take to be a high performing PM and attain those great PM jobs?

10 April 2019 15 replies Career Advancement



Bob McRae Hinckley, OH

The answers you have been provided are excellent. I will offer 3 others:
1. Use the industry experience you have to leverage your value to a PM job. For example. if you have logistics experience, view accomplishments in the context of delivery, performance, schedule, budget, and expectations. If you are familiar with IT, be it software or data center, or help desk, do the same. My specialty as a PM for 25 years was data center configuration and relocation.

2. PM's need to relate to folks who are subordinate, colleagues, and customer executives and performers. Your experience, effectiveness and accomplishments working with people in each of these roles will appeal to prospective employers.

3. Budget responsibility comes with senior PM roles. Your experience creating, managing, reallocating money and resources as necessary are skills an employer would appreciate. Some focused finance education would be helpful if you lack experience.

Hope these suggestions are helpful.

3 May 2019 Helpful answer


Paul Trejo Austin, TX

Hi Mario,

Thanks for your years of service. Project Managers get better at their jobs when they can see the Big Picture -- where their current Project fits in with other projects in the company.

We don't dare touch the other projects, or even offer advice -- that's not friendly.

But we ask questions, and let other people talk, so that we can learn how our current Project fits into the Big Picture of the direction of the company.

It also helps to have an Executive Manager's viewpoint on the company. If you don't have an MBA, then at least take some online courses in Small Business Management.

Small Business is ideal, because you get to see the whole company in a tiny setting. You can always apply it to a larger company with ease. (It doesn't work the other way around.)

For a simple example: There are seven basic departments in any company -- from a one-person company to a 50,000 person company. Seven. They are:

1. Stockholder
2. HR
3. Sales (one on one)
4. Accounting
5. Production
6. Marketing (surveys for all past buyers)
7. Advertising (ads for all future buyers)

All these departments work together like this: the broad public enters the company at (7) then goes to (3) then to (4) then to (5) and then to (6).

If they are happy buyers, then they will go back to 3-4-5-6 in an endless loop, as our customary buyer (customer).

The ordinary customer never sees (1) or (2). Only stockholders see (1) and only employees see (2).

Knowing this -- knowing that all companies work like this -- try to find where your current project fits into the company.

For example, if your Project is in Production (5) for example, then you know that your Department has two main functions: to receive orders from (4) and to deliver satisfied customers to (6). That's the flow. Your Project exists to improve that specific flow.

Best wishes,

9 May 2019 Helpful answer


Ashutosh Mehta Berkeley Heights, NJ

Thank you for your service Mario.

You have received valuable feedbacks, and I do agree on those i.e. Agile is way to go but still many project are suitable for Waterfall method only where you need PMP background. Getting certified is kind of endorsement that you know the subject well. e.g. PMP for waterfall method, Scrum Alliance, etc. for Agile certification.

I would also suggest exploring Advance Project Management program from Stanford university or similar esteem institutes. That will put in Program Management role.

Regarding PM tools - MS Project is standard for waterfall, and they have templates for iterative/agile way. I would suggest learning Jira or other DevOps tool like Azure DevOps for backlog management, not for actual technical DevOps. There are many other online/could based tools are available which more or less will have similar features with different way of navigation.

Good luck!

7 May 2019 Helpful answer


Jamie Smith Colorado Springs, CO


All the others have great suggestions. I found joining the local charter help build your network and increase your knowledge base of actual projects. The professionals in the charter can give you real-world advice in real time. I also agree with taken on small PM roles on a volunteer basis. Advertise yourself at your current position to help with projects to gain more experience.

I wish you the best.

7 May 2019 Helpful answer


Claudio A Norwalk, CT

Hi - While the suggestions here are good, I'll give you my take as an additional point of reference. First off, PMP certification is good to have, but it doesn't really mean that the PM certificate holder is actually good by any stretch. I've hired and let go of PMPs so you should focus on actual on the job skills first; the PMP should reinforce your skills/experience. Recommend learning Smartsheet and MS Project and really mastering it. From what I've seen folks are moving towards Smartsheet because it is more intuitive and has a lot of capabilities that will come very handy on the job. Once you've done that go for junior PM roles, even internships for a few months to get you that on the job skills. I would go so far as try helping a local company on a pro-bono/volunteer basis. The PMP will come, but it doesn't mean anything if you can't communicate, connect the dots when it comes to stakeholder expectations, setting-up budgets etc.

Hope this helps!


5 May 2019 Helpful answer


Richard Lowery Clarksville, TN


I just completed the online Onward to Opportunity (O2O-VCTP) program/cohort with Syracuse University and am currently studying for the PMP exam. I have also been applying and interviewing with companies in Clarksville and Nashville, TN. The take away from all of those applications is that Agile and Scrum are both highly desired for the most part.

You kind of have an 'Ace in the Hole' for two reasons; 1. In the military, we had to find 'agile' and efficient ways of getting our missions completed successfully because money and equipment (in my experience) were always limited. 2. Success or failure was NOT an option to the projects that we conducted in service.

The O2O program, if you haven't looked into that, has a few options available to assist with both the PMP and/or the training (online or in person, depending on your location) for Six Sigma Green Belt. Just FYI, the O2O program only last 6 months for the cohort time, but you also have an additional 6 months of utilizing their platform for continued study and training (only one certification is paid for by Syracuse and their supporting companies).

Best wishes.

1 May 2019 Helpful answer


Wayne Brantley Riverview, FL

Get training on the PMBOK Guide 6th edition and then pursue a PMP Exam Prep before you take the exam. There are classes from 3 day bootcamps to 8 week online courses and everything in between. Get this certification and add a CSM and ITIL Foundations. These 2 are easy. The PMP is more difficult and you will need to study. I have been doing this for over 20 years and would be happy to advise on any questions that you may have.

1 May 2019 Helpful answer


Katie Templin San Jose, CA

The above are great suggestions, but I want to second the comments about knowing what field you want to get into since Project Management has some principles that cross industries, but some training won’t be as relevant in others. For instance, in a Pharmaceutical company (and not in a manufacturing role), six sigma is not as useful (I have been discouraged from getting training in it for my field of Project Management). So much of PM is the people side. Schedule, scope and time and people/team management go a long way in any industry. Also when looking for a job think of all the times you were a PM in your life and use the right terms for the interview. Just about anyone has been a project just need to use the right lingo when describing your skills.

29 April 2019 Helpful answer


Brian Hudgins Wasilla, AK

I live in Alaska, and my experience is, while companies want and need PMP certified workers, they weight heavily on the degree requirements as well. Most PMP jobs here are for Engineering, Construction Management, and IT degrees. The exception to this seems to be the Federal Government. I wish you all the best and I will be back retesting towards my PMP cert very soon.


George Thompson Jr. San Antonio, TX

You can never go wrong with a good writing, public speaking or general communications course. I am always amazed at the number of adults that cannot write a complete sentence in the workplace.


Patrick Dunphy Holland, MI

Hi Mario!

Check out O2O PMP certification through the VCTP at Syracuse University. They are free, offer excellent, flexible training, practice exams (**key terrain**) and pay for your PMP exam. Most importantly, they offer alumni a free member to LinkedIn Learning for life, where you can complete PDUs to maintain your PMP and learn about emerging methods like agile and others.


Glen Alleman Longmont, CO

I below to an organization that does what you want to do
If you contact them, they'll be able to help
Most government contractors have quota's for hiring veterans, and Vets2pm provides those services


Jonathan McGuire Schaumburg, IL

I'll add that Agile based project management is hugely in favor in IT. If you can understand Agile and be conversant in other Agile methodologies like Scrum, Agile XP, and Kanban it can give you a leg-up depending on the industry you're targeting.


Ilka Farley Anna, OH

Kepner Tregoe has very good Project management certifications and training. I would also recommend any Six Sigma certifications. The Lean Six Sigma certification is a very good certification. These certifications can serve well in all industries.
Some advise I can provide is to focus your search in either certifications that directly relate to the career you are seeking or get certifications like Six Sigma that can apply to any career because it focuses on process.
When I look for candidates that can work in my area I mostly focus on the experience and the types of projects the candidate has managed. Because I work in the Capital space for me it is important that candidates are familiar with Construction contracting strategies.

I hope this helps


Chuck Burger King Of Prussia, PA


Schedule is paramount so anything that will bolster your knowledge of all things schedule management; critical path methodology, entry/exit criteria including related technical performance measures, risk mitigation strategies, and schedule risk analysis to name a few. Lean/Six Sigma training, and development methodologies based on concepts such as Agile philosophies, which look “to promote rapid incremental product deliveries, provide flexibility to respond to changing requirements, and advocate close customer collaboration” are other worthwhile topics. If USG contract are in mix, and sound knowledge of Earned Value Management (EVM) /EVM Systems (EVMS) would be in order.

Pretty sure you’ve aware of the Project Management Institute as a resource

You should also investigate the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Integrated Program Management Division (IPMD) for additional background on the subject.

I hope you find this information useful!

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