Project Management is an amazing bridge for a NCO or SNCO into the civilian world. There are a lot of military members starting to notice this as well. In fact, questions about Project Management are posed to me at least once a week. It excites me to discuss this because I know the challenges of becoming relevant to a civilian employer and the value enlisted leaders (and officers too) can deliver.
Why are we such a great fit to be project managers? Well, you tell me if any of these qualities stated on Project Manager job ads sound familiar: leader, communicator, problem-solver, effective delegator, team-builder, integrity, technical expertise, and cool under pressure. These are the very same qualities we would use to describe good NCOs and SNCOs. This is what we do every single day, with many more ancillary demands.
Anyone who has ever led an effort of any sort in the Air Force has been in a project manager role and has followed the process as laid out for the PMP cert, you just don’t realize it. I didn’t realize this until I did a certification boot camp right before I retired. Throughout the whole class I sat there thinking, ‘we do that all the time.’ You do everything a project manager does, you just don’t use the same terms or steps.
The more you understand how what you do plays into the various project management methodologies, the better you can deliberately gain wisdom and experience in these areas. Not to mention, as I look back on many of the Air Force projects I ran, if I had understood this methodology better, a lot of mistakes I made would have been avoided. This means my team would have what they needed sooner. This is why my goal is to teach all who will listen about how project management relates to a NCO and certainly a SNCO.
When I first started looking into the PMP Certification, I was given the worst piece of advice. Someone who was further down the path told me to not to pursue it until I was close to getting out because “it is a pain to keep the certification active.” I will discuss this in a later article, but for now…not an issue at all. Do not make my mistake. Even if you don’t pursue the certification itself, learn the methodologies and tools.
I am working on a few more articles to go deeper in to Project Management:
What is a Project, Project Manager? (post date: 1/11)
Waterfall and Agile Methodologies (post date 1/18)
Working a Scrum in Jira (post date 1/25)
Pursuing the PMP Cert (post date 2/1)
Maintaining Cert and Earning PDU’s (post date 2/8)