Think you have Project Manager skills?
Why would I want to become a Project Manager, and do I have Project Manager skills? It’s not what I dreamed about becoming at school. Saving the whales or being a professional beach bum would have been my thing, but we must put bread on the table and money in the wallet.
Do kids dream about being project managers today? I think not. It certainly does not sound exciting to a thirteen-year-old, but is Project Management exciting?
Let’s look at what it is, it pays well. Salaries get thrown around, but in the UK, Project Managers have averaged earnings of £52,000 annually the last few years in permanent positions. Contractors often earn £400 per day or more. Entry level roles like Project Support can start at about £22K depending on where you live in the UK.
So, it pays well, progression is good, but is it exciting? Well that is a big question as project management roles are all so different. A project is temporary by nature, it has an end date. Think of a local authority and how many different projects they have on the go at any one time. Some are very exciting, and some are massive. Go back a few years and think about how big the 2012 Olympics was as a project.
Project Managers I have met love working on projects because each project is different with new challenges. Any organization that is growing or evolving needs project managers. Project Managers plan, control, and manage projects that implement anything new, create new products, build buildings, fix things, deliver services and much more across a broad section of sectors like IT, construction, catering, charity, all areas of government, oil and gas, agriculture and more. Bottom line is you will find project managers in all sectors at different levels working on different types and sizes of projects.
They may be working as part of a project team or could be managing a few small projects on their own. Senior Project Managers will manage large projects or multiple projects.
I know a project manager who sits in the comfort of his home and manages 7 projects across 2 different countries using PRINCE2 as a methodology to keep control of every stage of the project.
A project manager also must work with all the stakeholders involved in the project. So that could include the customer taking delivery of the project once it is completed, suppliers, technical experts, compliance officers and anyone else who has an interest in the project.
So, what traits and skills do project managers have and if I want to be a project manager, do I need experience?
If you love organising and planning events, then you might have the right skills needed. Project managers are good communicators and have good written and verbal communication skills, they are organised, can follow processes, have a bucket load of common sense and are often nice people that get on with the team they work with or manage.
Projects are managed using a methodology. Think of a methodology as a recipe. To successfully bake a cake, you follow a recipe. You plan to bake the cake, buy the right ingredients, then follow a rigid process to ensure a successful outcome or else your cake flops. You follow a process to manage each stage of the project to help ensure the project runs smoothly and is completed on time and within budget.
Managing a project can cover areas like creating a business case, planning the project, risk evaluation, managing each stage, providing stakeholders with information and successfully completing the project. PRINCE2 and AgilePM are the most popular methodologies used in the UK, Europe and worldwide, while CAPM & PMP are popular in the USA.
You do not necessarily need experience to start out in junior project manager jobs. The right traits and a bit of studying can get you there. The Career Advisors at ITonlinelearning can put you on this path.
For entry level job roles in project management, foundation level courses in PRINCE2 Foundation and AgilePM Foundation will give you an edge when applying for junior project roles. Having a certification will mean you understand how projects are managed and the process followed to manage the project. Think of it as a language, if a project is managed using PRINCE2, then everyone working on the project needs to understand PRINCE2. If everyone on the project speaks English, you need to speak and understand English to be effective.
To find out about how to get into Project Management if you have little or no relevant work experience, then please read my next blog, ‘How do I start my Project Manager career’?.