“Switching Industries in Project Management” was the topic of the 31st hangout of the Sensible Project Manager Hangout Community. In this community of project managers and others who enjoy discussing project management topics, we have a weekly hangout which is hosted via Google+ Hangout. These hangouts are held each Friday at 9:00am pacific time.

In this hangout, Mark Phillipy discussed the challenges that a project manager might find if they try to move from one industry to another. For the most part he believes that project management is project management regardless of the industry you are in. However, he acknowledges that it is important to increase your knowledge about that particular industry you serve in. In doing so you will become more effective in your role as a project manager. Also, some industries do require a lot of knowledge about the domain in which you work.

During the discussion we also discussed

Project Management Similarities

  • All project require you to deliver value to the customer.
  • 85%-90% of any project is communion.
  • All projects require balancing the triple constraints.
    • Budget
    • Time
    • Scope
  • You must always develop a team to deliver the defined scope.
  • A PM will always work with stakeholders.
  • You will always have resources to manage.
  • Risk management is key to projects regardless of industry.
  • A project manager will always have to manage change throughout a project.

Industry Uniqueness

  • Each industry requires a PM to build some level of knowledge for that domain.

Should project managers be generalists or specialists?

  • Some industries or positions require a PM to be a specialist.
  • Mark recommended that most of the time it is important to be a generalist which will allow you to be more mobile across industries.

Hints for switching industies

  • Hints for switching industries.
  • Educate yourself about the industry.
  • Network with others in the industry.
  • Beef up your resume in new industry.
  • Emphasize your Project Management strengths in job interviews.
  • Be prepared to start at a lower level than you are at currently.

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