Andrew Craig is a member of the ProjectManagers.Org community. He shares his story on why he became a Business Analyst/Project Manager in the following interview:
Why did you become a Business Analyst/Project Manager?
Coming from a management/leadership background, albeit a different profession, with a hands on mindset and approach, I wanted to continue with that path. Project Management gives me the ability to lead, help, drive, and motivate a team to provide the customer with the best effort and work possible. There is great reward in the successes of a team and the project, the satisfaction of the customer, and the relationships built.
What work were you doing previously?
Food and Retail Management, SQL Developer, Web Developer, General Contractor. I did it all I guess.
What are you doing now?
Working as a Sr. Business Analyst, Project Manager/Strategist. My specific role depends on the project. Outside of direct project work, I’m leading efforts on a minified PMO structure within our individual group to guide new and ongoing projects and initiatives into an organized pipeline, assisting with resource and program management, with improved analytics.
When was the moment you decided to make the change?
2008. Economic crisis in the United States. I took the forced change as a welcomed opportunity to become a better version of myself, and better provide for my family. I created a 5-year plan, stuck to it, and succeeded.
Are you happy with the change?
Couldn’t be happier.
What do you miss and what don’t you miss?
Every inch of road I travelled to get where I am, was the path necessary to get here. Of course I can look back and nitpick things I’m happy that I’ve moved on from, but those were all events that made me the person I am today.
How did you go about making this career move?
Since my background was not IT, I had to start from scratch. Classes, certifications, and junior level positions, all while returning back to University for my Bachelor of Science. I then began to move away from technology, perse, and more toward the Business side; first with QA, to Consultant, and now, as a BA/PM.
What didn’t go well? What ‘wrong turns’ did you take?
No wrong turns. They were all part of the plan. Like with a previous answer, it all comes together to make you who you are.
How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?
Planning, frugality, and support from my lovely wife!
What was the most difficult thing about changing?
The unknown, and the naysayers. I have learned that people will seem to continuously tell you what you cannot do. Do not listen to them. Throughout my entire adventure, I consistently would have others tell me that I can’t do that, or do it a certain way, or how others normally will do something. I don’t work like that.
Make your plan and stick to it. You do not always have to color in the lines.
What were other difficulties and how did you overcome them?
Again, the naysayers. It always surprises how often this happens. Other difficulties were personal, and were occurring during my 5-year plan. It was extremely difficult to remain focused … and awake! Earning my degree while working full time was difficult. Went to school on a Saturday program, studied instead of slept. Graduated in 2 years, Summa Cum Laude.
Earning my PMP was also very difficult. The thing with Professional Development is, it’s a task you must take on while tending to your daily responsibilities, such as work and family. It takes dedication and support. Again, my lovely wife was right there to support me. She is always right there for me.
What help did you get?
My wife. And my children too.
What have you learnt in the process?
I have learned that if you want something, you must put the effort in to get it. It just doesn’t happen because you think it should, or because you think you deserve it. You must work for it; and ask for it. Confidence can be achieved without overt cockiness.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
I do everything I can to think forward and leave the past where it belongs.
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Figure out what you want and what it will take to get there. Gain support from your loved ones, and block out the naysayers … in fact, gain motivation from them. Your success itself will speak volumes. Go get it!