The Ins and Outs of Being a Project Manager


Introduction

Project managers have become indispensable to many companies over the years. They are responsible for overseeing a project from start to finish and managing all aspects of the project. From formulating timelines and milestones to controlling resources and keeping expenses in check, a project manager ensures that projects are delivered on time and are of good quality. No matter the industry, a project manager will always be needed to keep the rest of the team in check and in good working order, be it software development or construction of a building, or planning an event. 

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Because of the wide responsibility that project managers have, it can be difficult to fully understand what is a project manager actually entails. We will be breaking down the different aspects of the job scope of a project manager and giving brief explanations so that you can understand the role better and if you should get project management certification.

The Job Scope

The responsibility of a project manager is intrinsically tied to the progress of the project. It is important to know the different stages of project development: Initiation, planning, execution, and closure. Some of the responsibilities of a project manager include project scoping, timeline management, expenditure and resource management, risk assessment, and troubleshooting, among many others.

Project managers have a lot to do, and sometimes they have to do these things concurrently. This means that a project manager will experience an extremely dynamic and ever-changing role, and requires them to be quick to adapt and respond. Many project managers find fulfillment in this role and often cite that they prefer the challenge over a repetitive task.

The Skills You Need

Companies rely heavily on project managers to handle the development of a project. As such, they are looking for someone who is comfortable and holds talent in leadership and leading others to pursue a common goal, and possesses the ability to communicate effectively. In order to track the progress of the project, they also need project managers to be organized and keep things in good order. Project managers are also expected to be able to deal with obstacles that the project faces on their own, which requires that they are comfortable assessing situations and formulating solutions. 

It is important to remember that as a project manager, your role is not to directly produce the products for a project. Rather, it is to assist the team and the company in the development of the project through management of resources and finances, as well as proper tasking of work to maintain peak efficiency. 

Approaches to Project Management

There are many ways that you can approach project management, and the choice of project management style depends on your personality as well as the industry and project you’re working on. These approaches have different objectives and goals, as well as the type of progression the project will have. The more common methodologies for project management are Agile, Lean, Waterfall, Scrum, Kanban, XP, and Six Sigma. These different methodologies fulfill different purposes, and it is important for project managers to be familiar with these different styles and when to employ them. Oftentimes, different industries already have a standard project management style that is used by many in it, so do consider how your industry works when choosing what management style is best.

Salary and Career Progression

Project managers, due to their importance to the company to reduce expenditure and increase output, are often compensated quite handsomely compared to their counterparts. In the US, project managers are often expected to earn $93,000 to $140,000 annually, with salary variations depending on the type of industry and size of the company.

Project managers are not expected to go out of style, either, as there has been a steadily increasing demand year on year. Not only that, project managers often exercise and use skills that are required for higher, senior management positions. The qualities of leadership and risk assessment, as well as timeline planning, are often needed in higher management, which makes them prime candidates for selection for such promotions. Project management is also easily transferable between industries, as well, as the core skills of project management are needed no matter the industry. This gives project managers great flexibility in looking for employment and transferring between industries, allowing them to pursue higher salaries and gain a greater perspective to develop their skills further. 

Qualifications

The required qualifications needed to be a project manager are highly dependent on the industry that you intend to join. Besides all the niche base knowledge of certain industries, the two mandatory qualifications for project managers are education and certification.

Though formal education is not a must, it does help display your qualities and capabilities to prospective employers. Not only that, but it also provides a solid foundation for your understanding of project management, filling in any lapses in your knowledge. Many project managers possess a bachelor’s degree in business or something industry-related, and some even possess education in business administration or management. 

There are post-education certification programs available to further upgrade your skills as well as verify your competency in managing projects. Project Management Professional certifications look great on your resume and give assurance to employers, and also provide deeper insight into improving your management skills. The Certified Associate in Project Management program is another great option, as it’s designed to be an entry-level certification managed by the PMI. 

Conclusion

Being a project manager gives you many career options, allowing a sense of professional freedom that not many other careers have. A project manager is responsible for a large array of things, but that also trains your skills and develops them towards being applicable for higher-level management positions. You have to be comfortable with being responsible for the progress and development of others, and guiding a team to achieving a shared goal. This will expose you to many people within various industries, as you will be communicating with different stakeholders as well as partners. A great part of being a project manager is being able to grow your professional network, and as you increase your skills you will eventually be exposed to many opportunities for advancement. Don’t be shy to take on educational courses to further develop your project management skills, as there is always something to learn when managing projects!

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