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Project management vs. hands-on work

I've been a functional consultant for six years now, working in FI/CO/FM and MM. Over the past year, I have fulfilled a project management role mostly, coupled with master data management in a public sector environment. I truly enjoy the challenge and hands-on problem-solving required as an integrator. Yet I equally like managing projects and dealing with senior management. Should I become certified in another module or the Enterprise solution? Or should I focus on Project Management? I am equally good at both. I am looking for a near-term focus.
I'm glad you're asking this question now, because after one year of (mostly) project management, you won't be able to return to the hands-on functional world very easily. And with another year of the same, it will be almost impossible to get back into hands-on functional work. The window for SAP skills shuts quickly – it's a "stay current or go home" market. But I happen to like your project management shift, so I think you should continue along that path. Especially with your public sector expertise, you might be able to position yourself as a public sector project manager who has deep master data management expertise to boot. The public sector has been one of SAP's best industries the last couple of years, and it seems likely that will continue. Sometimes people write me a question about a career change when they really just need to "keep on keeping on." I think you're one of those people. You should continue to take proactive steps on the project management side though, perhaps by linking up with Project Management Institute, mastering multiple SAP implementation methodologies, studying SAP's new NetWeaver platform, etc. Keep on keeping on!
This was last published in August 2003

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