In project management, just as in any professional career, it is important to always be prepared to jump to the next big opportunity – to always strive for self-improvement. Here we look at having an exit strategy as a project manager.
Within project management, it is important to always keep one eye on the door. This may sound counter-productive, seeing as you need to be giving everything to a project in order to succeed.
However, industries are always changing and naturally in this career, you’ll always be wanting to self improve and it may be that the self improvement comes in the form of a promotion or a change to a different company.
Always be prepared to give a job your all, but always be ready to prepare a good exit strategy if the time comes to move to a better opportunity. Planning an exit strategy might seem unnecessary but it is a worthy investment of your time if you want your career to really take off.
Having an exit strategy ready shows that you are a strong person who has a lot to offer, someone who is the best at what they do.
So how do you prepare an exit strategy?
Preparing an exit strategy is very similar to how you approach many different goals. It’s all about working backwards. It will involve:
- keeping your CV up to date
- keeping up to date with the latest project management courses
- understanding your own personal message
- making sure the person taking over your job (or who is likely to) is well prepared
- networking (always important in project management)
- having clear career direction
- ensuring you are one step ahead of trends in the industry you are in.
You should also always have an awareness of your employment contract and what leaving the job would mean for you in the way of notice, pay and so on.
You should also try to take advantage of any project management training or development offered to you by your current employer before you let anyone know you are leaving. Up-to-date PM qualifications are essential for career progression in this field.
To work backwards from your goal simply break down steps to see what you need to do to get to each stage.
For instance, if you want to head a department in a different organisation, to get that position you need to apply for a job, to apply for that job you need the relevant project management qualifications, to get the training you need to book a course.
Your Employment Contract
Your contract should let you know how you can hand your notice in and what will happen when you do this. It is extremely important you check the details and get them amended if any of them stop you reaching your goal.
Be aware of any clauses that stop you working for a competitor within a certain amount of time, or that mean you need to leave the job immediately once handing your notice in.
Always Leave On A Good Note
It is so important to leave on a good note – you never know when you’re going to need a reference or potentially end up working for an organisation again. Plus, other people jump ship too – you might end up working with certain individuals as well in the future.
Make sure you’re not dramatic about your exit, you complete all work assigned to you before you go, you leave any information you need to pass on in a clear and organised file, and remain positive about the company you’re leaving.