usually try to implement project management processes from the previous
industry to the new industry, but what’s critical in one industry may not be
in another,” says Pawan Mishra, PMP, project management office manager,
technology and innovation, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
IT projects in financial organizations might prioritize security requirements
more heavily than those in construction or retail, for example. “Keeping the
new critical parameter in mind, one should modify the project management
processes and workflows accordingly,” Mr. Mishra says.
Sometimes, an industry shift might mean a new approach entirely. When
Ms. Baker transitioned to an IT role, she was largely unfamiliar with the agile
approach, having worked for more than a decade using waterfall in the aerospace and oil industries. To get up to speed, she attended agile events at her local
PMI chapter. She also decided to concentrate her professional development
units on agile courses, enrolling in online webinars so she could watch presentations during her downtime. “Agile is what the IT world is all about, so I can’t discount it just because I’ve had a more traditional approach for so long,” she says.
BUILD A NEW NETWORK
Knowledge from project and program managers experienced in the field can
help industry hoppers get up to speed—and deliver value—as quickly as possible. Take note: Networking connections beyond the company’s walls can
be more candid than new co-workers. Ms. Quezada recommends reaching
out to industry project and program practitioners within existing networks
and asking them to meet for an informal learning session. “They can tell
you the most common project problems you might find in your new field,”
she says. That informal knowledge sharing can influence everything from
learning which metrics to monitor more closely to how best to develop risk
Mr. Mishra recommends joining professional groups and attending networking events that are specific to a new industry. Getting immersed in industry
news and terms also can radically speed the transition and provide an up-to-date snapshot of the project landscape. For instance, insiders at industry events
also might be able to recommend specific publications, blogs and newsletters
that they read.
“You should learn the scale and type of projects running in the industry and
which new projects have made some noise in the market, and you should under-
stand who your competitors are as well as the differentiation factors,” he says.
“At the same time, you might find a friend who you can ask questions and share
thoughts with as you make this transition.”
In the end, the switch to a new industry is a challenge to which project and
program practitioners should easily relate. Just like switching from one project
to the next, hopping to a new industry requires a desire to learn and adjust.
“Continuous learning is always a part of being a project practitioner,” Mr.
Mishra says. “However, having the self-motivation to immerse yourself in the
industry’s terminology and business processes will pave the way to success in
your new field.” PM
“Having the self-motivation to immerse
yourself in the
and business processes
will pave the way to
success in your new
—Pawan Mishra, PMP, Etihad Airways, Abu
Dhabi, United Arab Emirates