According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the word project management means maintaining a group of tasks by using special tools, techniques, skills, and knowledge delivering value to that work. Similarly, it means it is a systematic predefined area where every individual who is contributing towards that project should attain value out of it, whatever we are designing should satisfy the exact need of the client or the stakeholders even if we are developing something to solve our purpose also.
As the word says managing a project from the beginning till the delivery is termed project management. A project may involve various phases and milestones as we go through it. Some can be simple and easy deliverable projects while some are complex projects which can be time taking. While simplifying a project as said earlier that it goes through different phases, the phases may consist of defining a scope, examining the risks and other factors which can impact the project as it progresses.
There are other aspects to it like procurement and after-services etc. that we will discuss later. By now we have a brief understanding of what the project is and how can we manage it. The purpose behind this is very simple I want you to have clarity before you dig deeper and invest your time to be a Project Manager.
Project Management is one of the most creative and disciplinary jobs out there in today’s business world. If you feel you have that managing skills, leadership qualities (which include team allocation and building), risk-taking capabilities and good communication skills then you can surely become a Project Manager to find out stay tuned till the end of this blog.
Table of Contents
Basics of Project Management
A project goes through 5 different phases. While we define these phases for you, please try to relate them to your day-to-day life and if you can you surely should try this as a career.
Initiating the project: A project is initiated with a need when a company or organisation want to develop something which can enhance their business or streamline it. While initiating the project one vaguely defines what one wants. As a project manager, you need to work on a document while initiating the project called a Project Charter which consists of the rough scope of the project (scope means describing the requirement or problem), deliverables, timelines, risks and an estimated budget. Once you get it signed with the client the project gets successfully initiated.
Now try to relate if that was something you are also doing subconsciously in your daily life, it involves lots of planning before actually executing the things. Is deeply planning something your style and the way you do work? It can be as simple as heading to manage and organise a science competition in your school.
Planning the project: We are still going with the planning phase for now. A lot of studies have suggested that if we plan enough and define everything in advance then chances for successful delivery become very high. In this phase, we simply plan and predict the future happening that can impact our course of action. This is a detailed planning thing as we try to define the risks and work around them (how to mitigate them), the delivery timeline (we will divide the project into small tasks and see how can we finish them quickly), how to test the quality, allocate the resource and how to do team building, what all channels to be required for communication.
Now see this phase as you plan everything while organising that science competition in your school. Do you plan the competition timeline, its theme, the budget involved, possible risks that you can face and possible workaround with them? If yes, then we are heading in the right direction.
Executing the project: Now we have moved to execute what we have planned. If planning was critical then doing it will also be equally important, because this is the area where we know if we predicted or planned it right. Executing lets us work on the deliverables (what we are going to deliver after the completion of the project). While executing we must be prepared for various setbacks and new happenings a successful project manager can find out the workarounds for all the surprise happenings.
Now the day has come when the science competition is happening. Everything should be executed as planned. Although setbacks can happen as said above as a project manager you should be ready for those outcomes and create a workaround for them.
Monitoring & control the project: This is the same stage while the team is executing the project the project manager has to do a very important job to monitor overall growth and successfully control it. It has another aspect to it also as a project manager you must quantitively evaluate the project which means the number of resources and effort your team is putting into the project, and whether is it generating a successful ROI.
Similarly, you need to monitor every aspect of the science competition and must have full authority over the outcomes.
Project closure: This is the final and equally important phase of the project. In this phase, the project manager delivers the actual deliverables are handed over to the client. After the successful sign off the closure of the project is done. However, taking client feedback is very essential and treated as a good practice.
While you have successfully organised the competition, you can announce the winners with the panel of judges you have allotted. The last part of the exercise can be getting feedback from the students and faculty involved in the competition.
Necessary skills to become a project manager
The project manager is a very challenging job where you need to know the essence of a successful managing team of people. In this field, your knowledge, and skills are not just enough for you to be a good project manager. Someone good at the job should know how to tackle and manage daily project needs. As projects have some daily going activities now to be a good project manager you should be well aware of the happenings, you need to have high adaptability and accountability towards your team.
You should have very good leadership skills because the most important thing you have to do is manage different departments and people working on that project. With leadership qualities, you should have very good communication skills also. As a project manager, you should know how to multitask and juggle the work of different departments. Your writing skills and the way you communicate will also help you to be a good project manager.
Very important technical and non-technical skills that a project manager needs to have,
- The first and foremost skill that is required to become a project manager is people or leadership skills. The project manager is someone who manages the outcomes of the project and this can be done by successfully managing the team. Leadership qualities demand you to be empathetic, a decision maker and someone who know what your teammates require out of that project. You should be visionary, although it is not needed that you be the master of all the skills required for the success of the project, you should be well aware and should know what needs to be done. With this, you should also have self-managing skills which will eventually help you to successfully forecast and take the necessary step towards project success.
- The second most demanding thing for this role is you should have strong negotiation skills and for having that you need to be a good communicator and presenter. Negotiation skills are always helpful while you are allocating resources, communicating between different teams, while procuring resources outside of the project environments with stakeholders and the client.
- Along with managing the project successfully, two things play very important roles and they are budget and timelines. All the other skills seem less important in front of these two, as they are very critical in terms of making and breaking things. As a successful project manager, you should manage different teams working on the project so perfectly that by utilising minimum project resources they will be able to deliver just in time.
- Apart from that some basic skills are needed from a project manager as they should have high risk-taking capabilities and should be able to monitor and control it. A project manager needs to critically examine the situation and create a workaround for them.
- A successful project manager should have strong business acumen, they may be able to deal with high-pressure situations by maintaining the sanctity of the work.
- Should have a high work ethic and must be true to their team, it has been seen many a time that if a project manager is not loyal to his team, the team member disobeys them.
- The motivation factor is another very critical factor while building a team. Project managers should be self-motivated enough and that is how they can motivate others.
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How to become a project manager
There are majorly 2 ways anyone can become a project manager.
By choosing to study principles of project management in school or at the college level and apply to the positions open for this role. This is more of a skills-based job where one has to understand the concepts that how a project is maintained in broader terms and develop the other necessary skills to become one.
The second one is the most preferred way in today’s business world. At your workplace, you might be handling projects as a daily part of your job. After getting the necessary knowledge and skills you might do some certification courses, for example, you can give an online paper through PMI which is Project Management Institute and get the necessary certificate.
Other necessary steps to become a certified project manager may include.
Develop project management skills and understand the concepts
You might be doing project management throughout your career. All you have to do is to understand the core steps to manage a project. As quoted earlier in this blog it is a very simple and basic technique that might have started in you from a very early stage, simply by organising a science competition at the school level. Similarly, while doing a job, you might be doing some project management processes daily.
In this way, you already have demonstrated activities that a project manager does in his job. You can either apply directly to those jobs which require that the candidates must have the skillset of a project manager, or you can simply do a certification course and then apply for it.
A very important piece of information to notice is that you have successfully achieved 3 years of experience by either leading a project or by simply being part of one. Now you are eligible to give PMP (Project Management Professional) exam.
Develop the skills and your experience level
While you are part of a project or leading it, you have enough exposure to successfully enter the area of project management.
In case you are not part of a project and want to enter this field you can work as an intern or be a volunteer in a government project there you can earn some necessary skills and the necessary 3 years of experience level. Once you have the necessary skill sets and experience level you can enter the field of project management. Some necessary skills you need to develop as you gain the necessary experience.
- The most important is doing risk management.
- Doing the budgeting and working on the scope of the project.
- Working on agile methodology.
- Working on scrum.
- Good communication and leadership skills.
Develop a well-written resume and apply for entry-level jobs
Once you gain the skills and experience to become a successful project manager it is time to create a well-thought-out resume. It must demonstrate all your skills and how many projects you have successfully handled. The amount of successfully handled projects creates a very good impression in the recruiter’s mind. You must emphasise the role you have played in the success of a project along with all the inherent qualities that makes you worthy enough to get the job.
Start your career by getting into an entry-level job. In this way, you will gain the necessary skillsets and experience level while working in a project environment. Various entry-level jobs in an organisation include,
- Project Coordinator
- Operations Associate
- Junior Project Manager
- Associate Project Manager
What are different project management certifications?
Though there are different types of certifications available in this field. You need to examine the course detail carefully; it should have a positive impact on your current profile. Some of these certifications are.
Project Management Professional or PMP certification
- This is one of the most legitimate and highly credible certificates that is offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).
- This certificate course is based on PMBOK Guide and Standards.
- Once you enrol for this examination you are free to use its study material.
- The exam consists of 200 MCQ and the fees you have to pay for this examination is $405 for member students and $555 for non-members. For being a member, you need to enrol and pay $32 per year.
- You need to have 3 years of experience or 5 years of experience if you do not have a 4-year degree in PM.
- In addition to that, you also need 35 hours of formal education in the project management process that you can easily get by joining an online course verified by PMI.
- It is valid in the USA, Canada and the Middle East. For Europe, you might want a PRINCE2 certification.
- PMI website is.
- PRINCE2 also known as Projects in Controlled Environment.
- It is developed by the UK government in case you want to use this project management method you must be eyeing companies in Europe, especially in the UK.
- There are two main certifications associated with it, the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 practitioner.
- The foundation certificate is for beginners it gives you a piece of basic knowledge for being a part of the project. After getting the foundation certificate you necessarily do not become a PM but it gives you the authority to work in a project management team.
- Once you get a practitioner-level certificate you can act as a Project Manager. This certificate allows you to use PRINCE2 principles in the project.
Other certificates that you can do to pursue in this field
- CAPM is also called Certified Associate in Project Management.
- Professional Scrum Master
- Certified Scrum Master
- ICAgile Certified Professional or ICP
Salary offered to a project manager
The average overall salary compensation for a Project Manager in the United States is $105,282.
Throughout this blog, I am sure that you might be able to understand how can become a Project Manager. Do you have all those inherent qualities in you to succeed in this field? Project Management is something we do in our daily life, so we can easily mould our profession in that direction by getting a necessary certificate.