Project Manager Development Paths

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The routes project managers have taken to their careers vary as much as their backgrounds and experiences, which is to say that their paths resemble a collection of unchartered roads rather than a freeway.

The track to a career in project management is seldom a direct one. The question of what project managers learn and how this learning takes place therefore becomes central to documenting the development paths of project managers and taking the next steps toward professionalization of the field.

This study has investigated the professional development of project managers through interviews, surveys, and personality inventories from a sample of practitioners. Results from the research reveal how learning experiences as well as personal characteristics comport with professional development.

The implications of such research can affect a focused and more rapid professional development path for practitioners and the resource managers who support them. In practice, clear project management development policies serve as a sign post that project managers have arrived.

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