Are You a Project Manager?
- 29th March 2016
- Posted by: Stacie Jansen van Vuren
- Category: Project Management
The question “Are you a project manager?” does not simply ask whether or not you are currently managing projects as a career. There is more to being a good project manager than just having the ability to ensure that others are completing the work assigned to them. A good project manager has a wide range of skills and although courses such PRINCE2 Foundation and Agile Foundation will ensure that you have the knowledge and skills to be a competent project manager; there are also a variety of soft skills which can enhance your project management career. In order to be a truly successful project manager you will need to hone all of your skills and increase your abilities as you continue along this career path.
What is a Project Manager?
To put it as simply as possible, a Project Manager is the person who is responsible for planning, resource management, monitoring, progress control and making certain that the project work is completed within the time frame that has been agreed upon for the project. At the end of the day, it is the Project Manager who is held accountable for delivering the project’s product/s.
The constraints of the role of Project Manager can vary between projects and this is generally based on the size and complexity of the project at hand. On larger projects with specialist teams to handle complex product’s the Project Manager generally fulfils this role only; however, when it is a smaller and simpler project, the Project Manager may also perform other roles such as preparing all documentation and updating all logs and registers to minimise the need for numerous Project Office Support workers. To become a great Project Manager it is recommended that you invest in your career by gaining a relevant certification which will validate your skills and knowledge; such as the PRINCE Foundation and Practitioner courses or the Agile Foundation and Practitioner courses.
Whether you are an experienced Project Manager or brand new to the field of project management, it is highly beneficial to your chosen career to gain the appropriate certifications. Certifications validate your ability to perform effectively and efficiently in your role and will provide assurance that you are capable of getting the job done. The leading project management method across the world is PRINCE2 and the Agile project management method is rapidly gaining popularity as well. These two project management methodologies have also recently been combined into a PRINCE2 Agile hybrid which clearly demonstrates that it is possible to successfully merge more than one method to gain the benefits of each.
PRINCE2 Foundation – The PRINCE2 Foundation certification is the first step in becoming a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner. This level of training will provide an understanding of the terminology and the method itself. Gaining the PRINCE2 Foundation certification is a prerequisite to studying the PRINCE2 Practitioner course. For those who work in project management environments but are not necessarily a Project Manager, the PRINCE2 Foundation certification will often be sufficient.
PRINCE2 Practitioner – This is the second level of PRINCE2 project management training and passing the certification exam will lead to Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner status. This level deals with the practical application of the PRINCE2 method in real project scenarios.
Agile Foundation – The first level of Agile project management studies is the Agile Foundation certification. As with the PRINCE2 Foundation certification, the Agile Foundation course will prepare you with knowledge of the Agile terminology and a foundational understanding of the Agile project management method. Gaining the Agile Foundation certification is a necessary requirement for undergoing the Agile Practitioner course.
Agile Practitioner – The next step in Agile project management training is the Agile Practitioner course and subsequent certification exam. Mirroring the certification path of PRINCE2, the Agile Practitioner level addresses the ability to apply the method to projects and provides a deeper level of understanding into this project management method.
Qualities of a Successful Project Manager
Project Management certification training courses will provide you with the “book smarts” to fulfil your role as a Project Manager, however, there are other skills that can enhance your project management reputation from “satisfactory” to “exceptional”. Reputation is very important in this field as projects are costly affairs which can literally lead to the success or failure of the organisation at the helm. To ensure that you back your certifications up with the necessary soft skills, it is suggested that you consider these four attributes and work on improving those areas that are not your strongest.
1. Team Leader
A Project Manager has to be a strong and capable leader. Your team will look to you for advice, guidance and encouragement and the key to productivity is to keep your team happy. Listen to your team, take their opinions and suggestions into consideration and remember to share the glory when a project comes to a successful conclusion – a Project Manager cannot complete a project alone.
2. Take Charge Personality
A Project Manager cannot be weak-willed. The very nature of the role means that you will be faced with situations where you will need to display confidence in yourself and your team in order to resolves issues and keep the project on track. You will need to be able to lead by example and demonstrate the ability to take charge of what needs to be done.
3. Communication, Communication, Communication
In case it was not already clear, communication is absolutely critical to the success of any project. Project Manager, Team Leader, Team members, Project Office Support, Project Board, Customer, Suppliers and anyone else involved with the project need to be able to communicate efficiently in order to achieve the goals of the project. Without communication your project has a greater chance of failing than it does of succeeding.
4. Be a Thinker
There are those who are simply born to be Project Managers due to their natural ability to think logically and analytically. This enables them to foresee risks and issues before they pose any threat to the project. Although not everyone is born with these capabilities, it is possible to practice these soft skills and improve upon them over time.
Regardless of whether you are already a Project Manager or are simply considering a career in project management, there is always room for improvement. Taking your career seriously means constantly working to increase your skills and abilities and investing in your future to ensure that you are the best Project Manager that you can be.