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Success Factors

Success factors provide guidance on how individuals may maximize performance and career success as they progress through career stages in Program and Project Management. These success factors represent the advice, or best practices, from subject matter experts who reflected on their experience in the Program and Project Management field and provided a roadmap to maximize performance and career advancement. Note that many of the success factors indicated in this Guide do not tie to any particular specialty area or grade level. After reading through the success factors, individuals should seek clarification from their supervisor on how to best implement these suggestions. The following constitute a list of general success factors and specific factors related to career mobility, expertise, and connectivity:

General Success Factors

  • Develop understanding of Project Performance Domains and able to apply them in project work.
  • Develop strong continuous learning skills and regularly assess your skills gaps, reflect on what you have learned, and create new career goals.
  • Develop effective communication and critical thinking skills.
  • Build and foster key networks and partnerships that provide increased access to diverse perspectives.
  • Demonstrate a high level of organizational awareness by clearly articulating how your program and/or project aligns with the organization’s mission and performance goals, your program(s)/project(s) requirements, and program/project stakeholders.
  • Find a mentor and coach and mentor others as you become more experienced.
  • Develop a strong understanding of the strategic roles of stakeholders.
  • Gain an understanding of the political environment.
  • Develop strong leadership skills and seek leadership development opportunities at all career stages that increase in level of responsibilities and complexity.
  • Be flexible and resilient.
  • Join a PM Community of Practice (PM COP)
  • Gain a strong command of budgetary considerations and constraints.
  • Gain an understanding of the marketplace environment and its strategic role as stakeholder.

Mobility: Success Factors Related to the Type and Frequency of Movement Between Different Career Stages

  • Gain as much real-world experience as possible working with multiple and different types of projects and programs, as well as working with a variety of stakeholders (e.g., by participating in rotational assignments inside or outside of the agency).
  • Identify opportunities to gain experience in all phases of projects. Begin with small stretch assignment and then look for assignments with increased responsibilities.
  • Frequently move to increase breadth of experience. This may include lateral movements, movements that provide both field and headquarters experience, or movement to different agencies/departments that will diversify your portfolio.
  • Seek detail and rotational assignments that provide new experiences and senior leadership visibility. The developmental goals of these assignments may be to strengthen a technical or leadership competency.

Expertise: Sucess Factors Realted to the Relative Value of Breadth versus Depth of Expertise

  • Develop a breadth of knowledge in Program and Project management because it is extremely valuable in understanding the vast complexities of larger projects/programs, promotes flexibility in the types of programs and projects assigned, and strengthens the critical ability to identify risk at the earliest possible stages.
  • Develop an enterprise-view of program and project management to effectively manage up.
  • Understand that the depth of the expertise may vary depending on specific career track and career stage.
  • Be aware and knowledgeable on the competencies needed for agency specific programs, policies, and processes.

Connectivity: Success Factors Related to the Various Career and Occupational Path Interconnections and How These Interconnections Foster Individual Growth

  • Develop and leverage institutional knowledge, best practices, and benchmarks to effectively problem-solve and identify solutions as an on-going practice.
  • Gain experience in building and leading cross-functional teams with given resources.
  • Identify and participate in cross-training opportunities that will strengthen your program and project management skills while increasing your expertise in other business functions.
  • Build connections across business units and occupations which provide pivotal career and mentoring opportunities.
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