Volume IX - Issue VIII - August 2007



The Seven Natural Phases
of a Project Management Career

By David Pells

About 25 years ago, some five or six years into my career as a project management professional, I was befriended by a retired professor from the University of California at Berkeley.  When I told him that I was planning to prepare a technical paper for a project management conference, he stated something like, “That’s a good idea.  It a normal sequence to begin writing and presenting papers at conferences; publishing is a natural step in your career.”

In the years since then, and as I consider the phases of my own professional development and career (and those of many others that I have known), it has occurred to me that there is a very natural sequence of steps or phases in most professional careers.  This is especially true in the project management field.  While there might be little new here for experienced project managers, I believe it can be very useful for those just beginning, to have an idea about what is in store or what they should plan to do.  In my own case, I was often impatient to advance.  I think that some guidance regarding career planning might be very helpful for younger professionals.

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David Pells


David L. Pells is the Managing Editor of PM World Today and of www.pmforum.org, one of the world’s leading online sources of project management news and information. David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of professional project management, with over thirty years’ experience in project management related activities and positions.
His professional experience includes a wide variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, transit, defense and high technology, and project sizes ranging from several thousand to ten billion dollars. He served on the board of directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) twice, and was awarded PMI’s Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award in 1999.  David can be reached via email at:






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