Posted on October 16, 2012 · Posted in Management, Monitoring

As project managers we are constantly consumed with projects, responsibilities, schedules, you name it. However, do we ever take time to think about ourselves in our roles as project managers? All project managers should have a personal action plan.

It is easy to become consumed by the day to day tasks, managing projects, schedules, budgets, etc. Because we are detailed and efficient, that is what makes us good project managers. However, we all have strengths and weaknesses. A good project manager recognizes those weaknesses and works to improve them. A personal action plan doesn’t even necessarily have to do with improving upon weaknesses. A personal action plan can also involve career goals or milestones that you may want to reach in an organization or in yourself as a project manager.

So what does a personal action plan include?

A personal action plan includes action items that a project manager wishes to focus on. Again, these could be weaknesses or areas that he or she wishes to improve on, or they can be focused on career goals or achievements. For example, an area one may want to improve on is scheduling efficiency, or perhaps one may want to take on higher level projects or projects of higher revenue.

Secondly, the project manager should find a partner to monitor or serve as a mentor for these action items. This could be a team mate, a close or senior colleague, or even a team leader or supervisor. Ultimately this person should have some knowledge or say or authority in the project manager’s success in an organization. If you work independently as a project manager, then perhaps you could ask a colleague or another team member you work close with to monitor your progress and help you reach your goals.

Next, project managers need to set deadlines—a start and finish point—on when these steps towards the action items are taken and when they need to occur. This may be during peak seasons in organizations or over the duration of a lengthy or complex project.

Finally, in addition to previous point, the output data for a project manager’s progress should be documented in some form. The overall success, feedback, and output data can be analyzed and documented in a project manager’s performance review. This can consist of the number of projects managed, the average amount of revenue of particular projects, or even just feedback provided by team members or customers.

All in all, it’s important for project managers to have a personal action plan. A personal action plan will not only make one aware of areas where he or she may need to improve on, but their roles as project managers and where they see themselves as a project manager or within an organization in two, five, or ten years. All project managers should take the time and create a personal action plan. Do you have one?

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