Since leaving IBM back in 2011 I've had an easy transition into the life of being a contractor. GSX were gracious in offering me a 1 year contract and I am very grateful for the time and lessons I have learnt from them. Whilst I was finalising my days at GSX I decided to formalise some of the skills I have learnt over the years. Having been in the IT industry since leaving school in 1987 (some 25 years at time of writing), it's been interesting to work with some amazing technologies and see trends come and go and come back around again.
One of the skills that I have learnt is project management and really just by osmosis and watching what others did that worked and didn't work. Learning like that is my preferred method of learning. Watch, try, question, try again and so on. The Open University introduced me to Kolb's cycle of learning which pulled all that together for me nicely.
There is a different version that talks about it being a spiral as you never 'do' the same thing again so you move 'on' from where you were.
I like learning like this, but sometimes you need to formalise your thoughts and experiences into something more solid. This is where PRINCE2 comes in for me. I had heard lots of people say, "You need to have PRINCE2 on your CV or you can't get a job these days". I thought that was pretty harsh and I had no experience of being a formal project manger in the past, although I had led many many projects in my time. Some had been successful and some not. Knowing what had worked and why was beyond me, so I thought that formalising my previous experiential learning couldn't be a bad thing.
I was right. On lots of levels.
- Formalising my thinking into a the PRINCE2 structured framework has been beneficial in helping me understand why some things worked and some didn't
- The framework is so generic that it can be used on anything
- Having it on my CV that I am a certified PRINCE2 practitioner has got me more interest in the job market
- It's proving a very useful framework for the current project I am working on for Collaboration Matters
Over all it was a very worthwhile week and two exams to learn this and get certified in it. I would highly recommend anyone taking this course and the exams.