If you’ve created a to-do list and then crossed off each item as “complete,” aced a group project and delivered it on time, or successfully managed your family’s hectic schedule (football, birthday parties, school plays – oh my!), you’ve also utilized key project management skills. However, many people don’t learn to utilize their PM Skillset – or even realize they have one – until their mid to late twenties. Imagine if you had learned project management when you were younger – in what ways (big and small) would your life be different?
At the PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF), we believe in the motto “the sooner the better” when teaching project management to youth. Learning and applying project management early in life is crucial to help youth build key life skills and succeed in whatever their endeavors may be.
Below are just four of the important skills gained through the practice of project management that help prepare youth for the 21st century.
- Collaboration – The action of working with someone to produce or create something
No matter what your age is, collaboration is critical in every environment. For youth, it’s used in the classroom, on the field, or really in any aspect of day-to-day life. It’s empowering for young people to learn to work well in a team early on, before they are expected to be competent team members or leaders in their daily work environment. Learning and applying project management through a well-organized, age-appropriate project example helps youth develop, refine, and excel in this skill, so they are better prepared to apply it in their daily lives today and later in the workforce.
- Critical Thinking – The objective of analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment
Take a minute and think of a young person in your life. Do they ask a lot of questions? Do they quietly sit by? When introduced early in life, critical thinking is a fundamental skill that encourages open-mindedness and helps them to find alternative solutions to problems, in turn giving them the confidence to speak their minds. Through learning PM basics, young people are able to think more deeply, plan better, and identify barriers. The popular PMIEF resource, Project Management Skills for Life®, provides a basic introduction to project management in a fun way and can be downloaded here at no cost.
- Creativity – The use of imagination
One of the best questions you can ask a young person is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s something we’ve all thought and reminisce about, even as adults. Fostering an environment that encourages creativity not only helps youth develop mentally and socially, but helps them think about their future and how they can execute their projects and ideas. Whether identifying a project, writing the scope statement, or creating the work structure, youth are using their imaginations to bring projects to life – while at the same time building confidence in their ability to provide creative, valuable input to the project along the way.
- Communication – The imparting or exchanging of information
In today’s highly digital world, it’s possible to communicate across the globe with the click of a button. But, project management helps encourage effective communication. At home, in school, at work, or in your local community, there isn’t a day that goes by when communication isn’t an essential component. Youth can practice and effectively improve this skill while participating in a project team, while strengthening their relationships with their peers, classmates, teachers, and parents, and preparing for success later in life.
The skills above are critical for youth to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. They help youth learn the importance of self-confidence, leadership, and teamwork, and build a solid foundation for everyday success and future endeavors.
Want to learn more on introducing PM skills to the youth in your life? Be sure to visit www.pmief.org for no-cost resources, articles, and testimonials on how to bring project management to youth. While you’re there, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to learn all about what’s happening in PMIEF, delivered directly to your inbox.
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