Project management is one of the most in-demand fields which is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Project management, at its core, is the practice that involves planning, organizing, scheduling, leading, controlling and managing resources and tasks to obtain the optimum result. The person who is responsible for carrying out these tasks is known as a project manager.
Scope Of Project Management
- The Project Management Institute (PMI®) expects an inflow of 22 million new jobs by 2027 in the field of project management.
- Most noticeably in The IT industry, project managers are in high demand in almost all major industries namely oil and gas, finance and insurance, manufacturing and construction.
- According to Glassdoor, the national average entry-level project manager’s salary is $59,680 while the ones with the experience of few years earn twice that.
- Project management can also be the road to becoming CEO as it prepares you for similar responsibilities like interacting with investors, project teams and clients, and deal with the pressures and financial restraints.
Becoming a project manager is no piece of cake. It requires a vast industry insight including knowledge of all domains and unquestionable leadership and analytical skills along with best-in-class communication skills.
You can think of a project manager as a football team coach. He trains the players, observes their skills and afterward decides which player is fit for which position. He prepares the players by analyzing the requirements of each game and trains them accordingly. While the game is being played, he is actively involved and is expected to make quick decisions like position changes or player substitution depending on the needs of the game. Cutting it short, he makes sure the team wins by working on each player’s performance, encouraging teamwork and formulating tasks for every player.
Skills Required In A Project Manager
Starting a career in project management is a hurdle you get to cross after developing the appropriate skills for this role. These skills include:
The role of the project manager is an authoritative one. He has to instruct the team and assign roles based on their individual skillset. From budgeting, organizing to development and delivery, he is involved in all activities. Leadership skill becomes a key factor in deciding if a person can do a desirable job as a project manager or not. A good leader will be able to perform the following tasks as finely as possible.
Decision Making: Decisions are not limited to selecting roles and responsibilities of the team members but it also includes the actions to be taken in order to increase productivity and reduce cost. A good leader will be able to make such decisions that will be followed by the team members, without hesitation.
Planning: The project leader is responsible for creating the entire project plan including the costs, schedules, and process to be followed.
Management: Management tasks like selecting teams, allocating duties, authorizing payments, among others, requires a leader who’s decisions are trusted by the team.
A project manager is expected to have a vision of the outcomes of his actions or the actions of his teammates or in other words, he should be able to see the bigger picture. This vision also defines the creativity of the project manager which in turn defines his ability to make sudden decisions ensuring that the project gives the optimum results and stays on the desired path regardless of the changes or setbacks.
“With great powers come great responsibility”. A project manager should be able to take full responsibility for the project and its outcomes as well as for the results of his teammates. He cannot blame anyone for the unsatisfactory results or setbacks as his role defines that he is solely responsible for it. He should have the courage to face setbacks and then take the necessary steps to overcome those setbacks.
Risk Management Skills
Risk management is an important skill that allows a project manager to assess the potential risks in terms of resources, finance, production or manpower and create a plan to overcome them. Advanced risk management skills mean that a project manager can also identify the areas of potential setbacks and prepare to overcome them well in advance. This not only saves time and efforts of the team but also ensures that the project stays on the desired path and therefore promises client satisfaction.
Perseverance & Patience
Patience is a must for a project manager. He should realize that not every team member is as active and smart as the best of them and has to keep patience to encourage better teamwork. He should not show anger or irritation on slow or unsatisfactory results but work in motivating the team members and deciding for future steps that will help improve the employee’s performance. These steps can be an employee performance enhancement program, a change in environment, additional support or distribution of the task.
General Business Skills
The project manager is the face of the team and has to deal with the client on a regular basis to provide reports, get feedback and understand the client’s requirements. He cannot ask the business manager of the organization to be present in each negotiation and should possess the basic business skills like diplomacy and negotiation to interact with the client in certain situations.
Basic Technological Skills
Technology is involved in almost every business in the 21st century. A project manager must be familiar with the basic technologies so that he can understand the working of his team. Having such skills can also benefit him in situations where there is a need to increase productivity, reduce cost or bring advancement to the process. This will also help him while interacting with the client.
Communication skills are the foundation of a career in project management. It is without-a-doubt, the most important skill. Interacting with the team, the client, or any other co-worker, a project manager should have excellent communication skills. Having such skills will allow him to understand the client’s needs and articulate them to the team leading to a clear shared vision. These skills also enable a project manager to build strong relations with the client and maintain a positive environment for the team.
Time is money. The client is always going to expect results on time as the employees expect their salaries on time. To ensure both of these things happen successfully, a project manager should have remarkable time management skills which will allow him to schedule the tasks and employee efforts to achieve on-time results.
Analytical skills can also be termed as good problem-solving abilities. Problems are bound to occur. There is no such thing as a perfect process so to ensure that despite the problems, the project meets the client’s expectations and the team does not lose their motivation, a project manager should have remarkable analytical skills to solve such problems. He should be able to handle such situations by not affecting either the client, the team or the product.
Requirements For A Project Management Career
There is no definitive path to project management. Anyone with the right skill set can start his endeavor by finding the right opportunity. And if you are the right person for the job, the path to project management finds you itself. But, there are definitely some sure ways to get you started.
1. A bachelor’s degree in management or business
2. Project management certification(s).
3. A master’s degree in project management or business management
However, if you do not possess any of these qualifications, you can pursue your journey in project management through the following ways regardless of your qualification.
- Having Relevant work experience in the field for a significant amount of time.
- Internship or apprenticeship under a project manager.
How To Start A Career In Project Management?
If you are a newbie or an experienced professional, it hardly matters. You must develop the necessary skills to enter the world of project management. Other than those, below mentioned are the 4 things you can do to start your journey into project management.
Talk To People
Interact with professionals in your field. Every industry has its own requirements and the only person who can help you understand the requirements of project management in your industry is the one who is presently working as a project manager.
Interacting with such people would also give you a chance to observe their communication skills and other personality traits which can help you figure out the areas you need to work on. It also will boost your confidence to talk to people at considerable posts.
Take An Online Course
Online courses are the easiest way to improve any skills. Free or paid, take any online course and commit to a daily habit of improving your skillset before you step into project management. Even if you are already skilled, there is no harm in taking it to the next level so that when you start, you start awesome.
Read Books To Gain More Knowledge
Books can teach you what no other source of information can. They are written only after extensive research by authors with unquestionable insight into the field. You can find a list of top 10 project management books here. They will also help you in gaining certifications with better results.
Certifications have become a trusted source for authenticating the skill sets of a person. Moreover, having the appropriate certifications give you an edge over other people which means better opportunities, more recognition, satisfactory appraisals, confidence, and personal satisfaction. You can find numerous certifications for this purpose here or on this website. Please conduct enough research before going for any certification or it is only going to leave you unquenched and with lost time and efforts.
The path to project management requires commitment and constant efforts like any other field. The beauty of this career is that anyone with the zeal to pursue it will definitely experience success. All you have to do is decide and start. Everything else will be figured out on the way.