Answer by Quratulain Habib on Quora:
This answer’s focus is how to start learning on the job instead of reading and attending classes (because you can already find those answers on Google and Yahoo)
To become a project manager one has to start thinking like one. So for instance, you can start by segmenting your usual operational work into project tasks e.g.:
- Is it time to renew software licenses? Volunteer to get the quotes from vendors. This will go straight into vendor management (PMI knowledge area)
- When attending those boring meetings, volunteer to take down the minutes. When jotting down the minutes for circulation, put everyone’s action items in a grid with their delivery / due dates (voila! thats your status report right there)
- Need to give an effort estimate for the next project bid, why not volunteer to sit down with the project manager or team lead and do the Work Breakdown Structure with them? Multiple sessions of this and before you know it, you’ll be involved in scoping, planning, scheduling and costing of this project bid.
These are just from the top of my head. What you need to remember is that anything and everything that other people groan about is probably a project management task :/ So buckle up, smile and think that you’re on your way to a thankless (yet monetarily affluent) career.
PS. PMI doesn’t require you to be a project manager or lead for the projects you end up using as experience as long as you were involved in any of the project stages doing work in one of their knowledge areas.
PPS. A project needs to be a minimum duration of 3 months so even if at the onset a project task doesn’t appear to be part of a ‘project’, go ahead and do it. You’ll be prepared for it when a ‘project’ does come along and your manager or supervisor will assign you to take care of it.